FIRST Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa, has castigated some businesspeople that are creating artificial shortages of products in the market through unjustified price increases and corrupt tendencies saying this is against Government policy.
Speaking during the commissioning of DCK Bakery in Kwekwe on Sunday, Mnangagwa said she was aware of some bakeries that were creating artificial shortages of bread in the market through limited supplies to a few retailers thereby unnecessarily raising the price of bread.
She said such moves were tantamount to sabotaging the economy.
"We are all aware that President Mnangagwa is calling on us to shun corruption and be transparent in the way we do business.
"But we become worried that there are some bakeries whose vehicles we see parked in bushy areas and supplying bread to a few individuals who go on to control the market. That is corruption and it should stop," she said.
The First Lady said every individual should play a role in shunning corruption in line with President's call saying the underhand dealings within the bread industry were undermining Government efforts to end corruption. "Such cases are going against Government's efforts to shun corruption. At the end of the day, Government is blamed as if it is doing nothing.
"Let us all play a role in reporting such cases to the relevant authorities so that those people are arrested," said Mnangagwa.
She said DCK Bakery, whose operations will be spearheaded by women, would therefore create the necessary competition within the bread industry.
"I hear in some places bread is going for $12 per loaf, that is bad and it is usually that someone is enjoying a monopoly of the market. DCK Bakeries will therefore bring competition in the bread market and prices will definitely fall," she said.
Mnangagwa said local businesspeople should lead by example in shunning corruption.
"We are all aware that the President has pronounced that 'Zimbabwe is open for business.' But foreign investors should find our house in order; they should find us clean and shunning corruption.
"But if they find that we are the leaders in corruption, they will follow suit and maybe surpass us in doing so," she said. Mnangagwa slammed laziness among youths and women saying foreign investors should not be the ones starting business ventures while locals are "asleep".
"Foreign investors should find us doing something, start a small business no matter how small and Government is ready to support that.
"We should not sleep and wait for foreign investors to come and do everything for us while we wait to be employed," she said.
DCK Bakery manager Mr Tinashe Muchena said his company, which employs 45 people, was looking forward to employing more people when production scales up.
"Currently we are producing about 8 500 loaves per day using a single oven. We are looking forward to establishing three more ovens so that our production reaches about 30 000 loaves per day.
"That will also mean that the employment will gradually increase to about 150 people," said Mr Muchena.
Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Larry Mavima and other Government officials graced the occasion.