The Chronicle

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter

GOVERNMENT is opening up the economy to everyone as a way of dismantling cartels and ensuring that there is a level playing field in the market, a Cabinet Minister has said.

Cartels and monopolies have been blamed for arbitrary price hikes and distortions in the market.

In an interview yesterday after the Bulawayo clean-up campaign at Ross Camp Police Station, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Cde Cain Mathema said opening up the economy and increasing production will dismantle cartels.

“Let us share the economy because when you are a monopoly and cartel you end up fixing prices and it’s clear that prices are being fixed. The Minister of Industry (and Commerce) Cde (Nqobizitha) Ndlovu has issued a statement on that showing that cartels fix prices and hide certain goods. Let us share the economy of this country together. This is what the President wants done. This is what the majority of our people want. The President and his Cabinet has gone out of their way to ensure that prices are stabilised but the cartels are doing what they are doing now,” said Minister Mathema.

“That’s why prices are going up everyday. You will have a number of companies owned by one individual who determines what should be done. 

“The prices of wheat and bread go up everyday, the price of cooking oil goes up everyday. We don’t want that.”

He said President Mnangagwa is committed to increasing players in every sector for economic growth while dismantling monopolies. 

“That is why the President is saying let us have as many companies as possible. The more production we have the more the market is going to be flooded. And normally that tends to make prices go down. Even fuel, everybody should be allowed to buy fuel from outside Zimbabwe but the cartels don’t want that,” he said. 

Minister Mathema said cartels are a legacy of colonialism and have no place in modern Zimbabwe.

“Remember the country was once controlled by one company – the British South Africa Company (BSAC). Anything that happened in this country had to satisfy that company alone first and foremost. They didn’t care about anybody else as long as they were happy and that culture took root from the BSAC and the Rhodesian economy was monopolised,” said Minister Mathema.

This week, Cabinet approved principles of amendments to the Competition Act to align the law with the Constitution and strengthen the fight against cartels and monopolies.

Minister Ndlovu on Sunday said Government was using the Transitional Stabilisation Programme to open up industries and shut down cartels which were increasing prices willy-nilly — @nqotshili.