Zimbos in panic mode, go on buying spree as COVID-19-inspired lockdown beckons

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Pic by Lovejoy Mutongwiza
  • Nzenza pacifies Zimbos, says essential services to remain operational
  • Unscrupulous businesses capitalise on COVID-19-inspired lockdown; sharply increase prices of basic commodities

INDUSTRY and Commerce minister Sekai Nzenza on Saturday said essential services will remain operational during the national COVID-19-triggered lockdown.

The statement is expected to bring a modicum of ease to misconceptions by many of a complete paralysis in most sectors of Zimbabwe’s economy.

Nzenza, while making the announcement, said President Emmerson Mnangagwa had put in place a raft of mechanisms that would allow for essential services to remain in place during the 21-day lockdown period, due for activation Monday.

Among the critical services set to remain operational are the productive, manufacturing and distribution of health-related products, supplies, devices, equipment and medicine.

Nzenza also said agricultural and food supply related operations would not be shut during the lockdown period.

“Food, beverages, poultry and dairy products, including manufacturing, processing and distribution facilities for the value chain will remain open,” she assured the nation.

The minister also clarified on the manufacturing and importation of basic commodities, saying these would continue unimpeded, implying movement of goods among international trade partners would continue.

Also to remain operational during this lockdown period will be wholesalers and official retail outlets, but on limited hours.

A snap survey by Zim Morning Post in many parts of of the country, including Harare saw that a lot of supermarkets had been emptied of most basic commodities, as residents go into panic mode, buying almost anything on shelves.

This publication also witnessed long, meandering lines of people queuing for cooking gas, where they are being charged twice the prevailing prices.

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