Biti Press Conference On inflation

Treat Zimbabweans with respect', business community urged.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti told a media conference today that the business community needs to act sober and reciprocate Government support by refraining from unethical and speculative activities of increasing basic commodities' prices.



He called the media briefing to address issues of inflation and the rising prices of basic commodities. Biti said inflation which was contained below 3% during the second quarter of the year is gaining momentum reaching 3.3% by July 2011 against 2.9%v recorded in May and June. He highlighted that the high July inflation was mainly on account of food price increases and also non food items such as detergents, hotel accommodation and catering services whose inflation rates were at 3.56%.

The minister further highlighted that revenue collections for the year have fallen behind schedule. He said revenue collected for July was $260 million against an expenditure of $400million. The minister said of concern to Treasury was the ballooning foreign trip expenses which he said had topped $20 million in the month of July alone. He pointed out that foreign travel of government officials has gone overboard. Turning to civil servants' salaries, Biti said Zimbabwe's wage bill had become astronomically high compared to other countries in the region. And more appalling is the fact that, despite this high wage bill, individual salary levels in the civil service will remain pathetic given the current inflation developments.

On the way forward, the Minister noted that government will

· Continue to closely monitor overall price developments

· Focus on the impact of duty reinstatement on selected imported basic commodities which include rise, maize, flour, cooking oil and salt.

Take appropriative action in protection of general consumers

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