BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Government has begun a process to formulate a law to deal with cartels and corporates that are allegedly monopolising their sectors for profiteering purposes.
Addressing a post-Cabinet Press conference in Harare yesterday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the proposed changes will be contained in the Competition Act administered by Industry minister Mangaliso Ndlovu.
Mutsvangwa said under the changes, cartels accused of causing price hikes and controlling market performance would be “effectively dealt with”.
“The principles seek to align with the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Key provisions include the following, introduction of a corporate leniency programme so as to facilitate the successful
investigation of cartels,” she said.
Ndlovu told the Press conference that the proposed change to the law will see the Competition and Tariffs Commission being empowered to probe and fine cartels for economic sabotage.
“We would want to get to the bottom of this issue. The whole idea is not to target people, but to create competition. It is not a secret that we have some people who collude with others
to hike prices and we are saying let us have competition,” Ndlovu said. He charged that the food sector and the sugar industry had operators with monopolistic tendencies.
“The Act seeks to empower the commission to levy administrative penalties on companies that violate the competition laws,” Ndlovu added.
Some Zanu PF and senior government officials have accused cartels of controlling the economy much to the disadvantage of ordinary citizens.
The proposed changes will also empower the Competition and Tariffs Commission to probe unfair business conduct and fine those found wanting.
Cabinet also received a report on projects that had been ear-marked under the 100-day plan with the Minister for Presidential Affairs Joram Gumbo reporting that at least 60% of set projects were on target, while 16% were ahead of target.
“Ministers that had all their priority progressing well, either on target or ahead of target are as follows, Environment, Tourism and Hospitality, Finance and Economic Development, Foreign Affairs, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Information, Mines and Mining Development,” Mutsvangwa said.
She said those that failed were due to pricing challenges as well as lack of foreign currency.
Cabinet also received a report on the proposed amendments to Attorney-General’s Act which seeks to provide terms for appointing a Deputy Attorney-General.
Cabinet was also briefed on the fuel situation and the electricity crisis with Energy minister Fortune Chasi saying: “On the electricity front, strategies would be implemented to cushion farmers and other critical entities from the ongoing drought-induced load -shedding.”