Retailers call for a coordinated approach

THE government must work with business to improve the operating environment, according to Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) President Denford Mutashu.

Mutashu, whose organization represents supermarkets, wholesalers and related businesses, was speaking during a stakeholder interface called to discuss issues faced by retailers and consumers as a result of the scourge of COVID-19 .

Businesses have also been hit by high inflation, currency shortages and exchange rate volatility.

“Government and business should continue to work together to improve prices and services, reduce the multiple effects of the exchange rate (crisis), the impact of the parallel market,” he said.

Retailers have been faced with the challenge of buying products from manufacturers in foreign currencies and then reselling them in the plummeting local currency.

The volatility of the local currency has caused retailers to set their prices at the Zimbabwean dollar equivalent of US dollars, hence the price volatility.

Economist Reneth Mano said the increase in imports was unnecessary and increased pressure on the economy.

“There is no reason for us to import crude oil and cooking oil from all over the world and complain that we have enough money. Let’s support our farmers in Makonde, Chiweshe, etc., because there are farmers all over the country,” Mano said.

He added that the nation should stop blaming the Russian-Ukrainian war because some of the imported goods could be produced locally, which would reduce the cost of imports.

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