Food price controls in the offing?

Staff Writer | Aug 21, 2019
Shoprite CEO Pieter Engelbrecht anticipates that government will introduce food price controls in future.

This was revealed as Shoprite announced its results for the year ending in June. Engelbrecht referred to the year as having been a ‘testing’ one.

‘A constrained economy, inventory shortages post-industrial action and the implementation of a new enterprise-wide IT system across our store base resulted in lost sales,’ he said.

The firm’s operations elsewhere in Africa had been strained, too.

The expectation that food price controls would be introduced was prompting the firm to explore alternative business products, including its financial services offering.

It is not immediately apparent why Engelbrecht voiced this view. However, repeated statements over the past eighteen months on the ruling party’s intention to undertake the expropriation of property without compensation have sparked fears of a collapse of confidence in the farming economy. In addition, President Cyril Ramaphosa recently signed legislation that would provide relief to certain highly indebted people – over the objections of the banking industry.

Food price controls might reflect the likely consequences of policy, or be meant as a populist measure to shield consumers from the impact of a dire economic environment.

 

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