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Zimbabwe Central Banker Blasts 'Anarchy' Caused By State Price Blitz

Zimbabwe Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, promising to put consumer goods back on currently empty store shelves, Wednesday denounced the “anarchy” caused by state-imposed price cuts, urging Harare to embrace economic pragmatism.

Gono told reporters in Harare that more goods were flowing into stores ransacked by bargain-hunting shoppers after the government ordered price cuts in late June.

He said authorities must understand that businesses will not supply the marketplace at prices that are lower than what it costs firms to manufacture essential goods.

He acknowledged, however, that letting prices rise to economically viable levels would bring a further rise in inflation, which nearly touched 8,000% in September.

Businesses sources say the government is being forced to backtrack on price cuts because major producing-retailing firms like Edgars and Bata are closing outlets.

Most manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers have sent workers on forced leave. Millions of Zimbabweans are now relying on food imported from neighboring or nearby countries like South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Namibia.

Economist Prosper Chitambara, now pursuing higher studies at Birmingham University in the United Kingdom, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Gono's acknowledgment of official errors was a step in the right direction.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...