Mthuli Ncube Vows To Clamp Down On Businesses Aiding Illegal Money Changers
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube has vowed to crack down on businesses working with illegal money changers and pinpointed middlemen between producers and retailers as culprits fuelling price increases. He said the government would blacklist and fine companies, and withdraw licences if necessary.
During an impromptu tour of Bulawayo’s central business district, Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube, expressed concern over rising living costs and “unjustifiable” price hikes of basic commodities.
He accused big businesses and retailers of collaborating with illegal money changers and called for ethical business practices to be reinstated. Addressing a manager at a Supermarket located on Fort Street, Prof Ncube said:
We want to send a message to your bosses. We are saying that they must stop these price hikes, which are totally unjustifiable. I am saying this because the next time we ask you to close and withdraw your licence, you will be out of a job and so will a lot of other people. Then the Government will be blamed for shutting down businesses when this is the only way because their behaviour is not proper.
Have you heard of the word schadenfreude? It is a German word that means taking delight from the misery of others. In English, they call it epicaricacy. That is what you’re practising. It is not good.
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In an interview with The Sunday Mail after the tour, the Minister stated that the government will soon clamp down on businesses that work with illegal money changers.
Ncube expressed concern over the rising cost of living and unjustifiable price increases, blaming big businesses and retailers for conniving with foreign currency traders.
The Minister warned that any shop refusing domestic currency and only accepting US dollars would have its license withdrawn.
Last week, Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe’s self-exiled former Information Minister, wrote an open letter to the Finance Minister disputing reports that the business community is responsible for the recent significant price hikes.
Moyo argues that Zimbabwe’s economic policies have been misguided and are not addressing underlying structural issues. He suggests that the minister should take a more proactive approach to address the current economic situation and engage with the business community to find solutions.