Huge price cuts ordered

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Mr Robert Mugabe has summoned business executives today to discuss the reduction of prices of goods and services to February 12 levels when teachers and other civil servants were awarded a salary increment.

From our correspondent in Harare

He said he would read the riot act if they ignore the order.

Ministry of Industry and International Trade and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe officials would meet captains of industry in Harare today to slash prices which he said was a deliberate attempt to frustrate Government efforts by those pushing for regime change.

He told rally-goers in the coal-mining town of Hwange, in Matabeleland North that companies would be taken over if prices do not go down.

” We are having a meeting in Harare with them. They will meet officials from the Ministry of Industry and International Trade and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe because we want them to reduce prices to those which were in effect before the salary hike.

“We are going to read the riot act to them. That’s no play. We are going to use the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act which stipulates that all companies, be they mines or manufacturing companies, with foreign ownership, without black shareholders or with black shareholders without a majority should have at least 51 percent shares reserved for indigenous people” he thundered .

Since the Government awarded civil servants a salary increase early this month, but they are still to get the money , prices of basic goods and services have surged beyond the reach of the ordinary people.

With days to go before polling, there is speculation Mugabe may order
another price blitz to endear himself to struggling voters.

A similar blitz in June and July last year emptied shops of most goods. Many stores are still sparsely stocked.

The Zimbabwean president is facing what could prove the biggest
challenge of his 28 years in power, with two strong contenders: opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and former finance minister Simba Makoni.

At the Hwange rally Mugabe also promised he would hand out 400 luxury
vehicles to government doctors on Thursday.

Doctors have been leaving the country in droves in search of better pay and conditions overseas.

Rights groups complain Mugabe has engaged in massive vote-buying, handing out buses, farm equipment, salary increases, fuel and computers ahead of Saturday’s polls.

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