- Over 1,300 Zimbabwean businesspeople have been arrested and fined for defying the price control set by the government. Officials of Zimbabwe's top firms were among those arrested and fined. 33 top Zimbabwean business executives have also been in police custody, waiting to be tried soon.
Zimbabwe has been accusing the businesspeople of deliberately hiking prices to cause chaotic situation thus threatening the government's survival.
But activists argued that unless Zimbabwe adjusts its policies, especially the foreign one, it would be difficult for the country to achieve economic breakthrough.
Its crack down on the business community followed the government's plan to curtail the prices of goods by half, an employed strategy to solve the high pace of inflation in southern African's once food basket.
The government's order has succeeded in aggravating the situation, with most shopkeepers prefering to close down rather than selling at loss, leaving the citizens with fears of food shortages.
Zimbabwean officials, who have been visiting shops and businesses to ensure that they comply with the new prices, vowed to main the new order, which aims to bring about sanity in the business industry.
Where the govenment had succeeded in enforcing the prices cut, people rushed to buy goods. Most of the rush buyers were caught transporting tonnes of goods to the rural areas for resale.
The police spokesman, Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka, said that some businesses had raised the prices immediately after the officials had left.
"We urge consumers to report such cases, using our police hotlines," Oliver Mandipaka told 'The Herald'.
"We will sustain this operation at all costs to make sure at the end of it there is sanity in the business sector:"
Zimbabwean government had earlier admitted a looming severe food shortages in the country. It has agreed to accept the food aid from the international community only on humanitarian grounds. Any such aid with attached strings would not be welcome, Zimbabwean officials said.
Zimbabwean government had invited experts from WFP and FAO to assess its food situation. This came after the government had declared 2007 as the year of drought.
"I have received a preliminary report from (WFP/FAO) which confirms our earlier fears of food shortages," Zimbabwe’s Minister of Agriculture, Rugare Gumbo, said.
"In their report they are saying the country will this year harvest between 600 000 and 800 000 tonnes of grain, which falls far short of the national requirement of about 2 million tonnes. In my view, I think this is a fair assessment."
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