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No New Price-Cutting Drive In Store, Zimbabwe Government Announces

Zimbabwe Industry Minister Obert Mpofu on Thursday has businesses and consumers that there is no new price crackdown in store, saying Harare will engage producers and retailers to ensure the availability of basic goods at reasonable prices.

Mpofu's statement represented an about-face by the government: the head of a state pricing commission, Godwills Masimirembwa, had warned last week that another blitz on prices was on the way aiming to discourage black market business dealings. The particular target was to currency transactions in the thriving parallel market.

But Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Vice President Joseph Msika opposed any new campaign against price increases and appear to have prevailed for now. The central banker this week announced that his institution would shortly be issuing a new currency, an operation that would have been complicated by a price-cutting blitz.

Director Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Harare must come to grips with business requirements for foreign exchange to obtain essential imported goods and raw materials for domestic production.

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