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To survive the current economic downturn, manufacturers have vowed to continue supplying goods to unofficial traders who exclusively pay in United States dollars, despite pressure from the government to require manufacturers to follow proper supply and distribution channels.
Sithembiso Nyoni, the Minister of Industry and Commerce, charged manufacturers with cutting out wholesalers and causing market chaos last week.
However, manufacturers are now dealing directly with the unofficial trader who makes one-time payments in US dollars to survive and avoid paying harsh taxes.
“I don’t think [Industry and Commerce] minister Stembiso Nyoni knows what we are going through to survive the current challenges. We need a great deal of foreign currency but the whole economy is only limited to US$5m a week on the auction hence we need these cash payments from the informal traders to oil the industry,” an executive with a Harare based manufacturing company, who requested not to be named, told Business Times.
He added: “We can’t be forced to supply N Richards, Metro Peech and Mohamed Mussa when they pay the Zimbabwean dollar after 45 days using the price of the delivery date at a time when they will be adjusting prices twice or thrice per week. Instead of spitting venom, the minister should sit down with the industry and discuss what should be done to find common ground.”
Kurai Matsheza, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, said the manufacturers provide to anyone who pays within the agreed time frame.
“Manufacturers are bypassing nobody; they just distribute to whoever meets their trading terms best. From our members all we hear is that they just want to have that dollar for their product as fast enough so that they are able to keep on producing; remain in business and grow,” he said.
Last week Minister Nyoni, accused manufacturers of causing chaos in the market.
She said the government was bringing order in the commerce sector by ensuring that manufacturers deliver to wholesalers and these are accessed by retail (operators) rather than what is happening now, whereby companies are delivering to the informal sector.
“That is distorting that value chain. If we do not address that, we are killing the wholesalers and bringing chaos to the market,” Nyoni said. *BusinessTimes*