President Edgar Lungu says he does not know why things are expensive in Zambia and has accused business houses of being insincere with the reasons they they keep increasing prices of commodities when, according to him, even when the Kwacha has appreciated.
President Lungu says it is unfortunate that despite the Kwacha appreciating against the US dollar, prices of commodities remained high. The Kwacha made some artificial gains last week to trade at K10: 20 per USD due to mines that were paying retrenched workers in local currencies. But the Kwacha has already stared losing value and on Wednesday, it closed businesss at K10: 50 in most banks.
But Lungu said in Serenje when he met chiefs Mailo, Chibale, Serenje, Chisomo and Kabamba.
Lungu was responding to a question by Chief Chisomo who wanted to know why prices keep increasing.
“I am equally surprised because when the Kwacha to a dollar was about K14, they increased prices, but now it is K8 and the prices are still increasing,” Lungu said.
President Lungu said such business houses were harming the economy.
He said the Government could be forced to enforce price control measures, but that did not support running of a liberalised economy.
The Head of State urged business houses to be sincere and ensure that prices should reflect the appreciation of the Kwacha.
Mr Lungu reiterated that he did not want to be forced to put in price control measures to protect consumers.
Commodity prices of especially locally-produced goods should be low.
Mr Lungu also visited the site at which police officers’ houses are been constructed and the Serenje District Hospital under construction.