President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week used the Presidential Powers Act to ban retailers from selling goods at exchange rates above 10% of the prevailing interbank rate, which resulted in shortages.

Manufacturers and retailers have reportedly deliberately stopped supplying basic commodities such as mealie-meal, cooking oil and sugar following the government’s pricing regulations.

Despite government pronouncements, the prices of basic foodstuffs have been spiking upwards, with bread going up from $640 to $690 on Sunday.

Confederation of Retailers Association of Zimbabwe president Denford Mutashu said forex shortages were hindering them from restocking.

“Our supply is constrained, especially when one pays in local currency, which predominantly most retailers do. They have no capacity to attract hard currency through their sales. During this weekend, we went around most formal shops in Harare and surrounding areas and money changers were loitering around the front of shops offering to pay for customers who want to buy using US dollars at a higher rate than the interbank rate used in shops,” Mutashu said in an interview.

Meanwhile, In his weekly column in the State-run Sunday Mail this week, Mnangagwa threatened to improvise new strategies to deal with businesses that are failing to comply with measures put in place to curb inflation.

“We have tried moral persuasion which some businesses mistake for weakness. We may now devise new strategies which ensure the consumer is respected and benefits from opportunities availed to the markets by the government through benefiting corporates,” Mnangagwa said.