We cannot run a country with a currency that is not ours- Zimbabwe says


HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My supplementary question is to do with the pricing in USD, as the presentation has been done by the Hon. Minister that there are penalties to that with regards to retailers who have a variance against bank rate as advised by RBZ.  We have retailers who are selling the cooking oil in USD and if you do not have USD, you do not get it, especially the wholesale shops across the country, the big ones that you know.

The issue of penalties, I do not know whether it is being applied because this thing is happening everywhere without any restrictions.

HON. CHIDUWA: The submission by the Hon. Member is quite a valid submission.  I would want to approach the question in two ways,.  the first one being the issue of market indiscipline.  What is the ideology that we have as a country in terms of pricing? The policy that we have is we would want the economic trajectory of this country to be private sector led.  We do not want to impose price controls. What we are looking for is situations where forces of demand and supply operate but they should do so within a specific economic environment where there is discipline. What we have at the moment is profiteering which is bordered on indiscipline.

Therefore, we have engaged the manufactures, the RBZ have engaged the retailers to say we are building this country together; we can wake up tomorrow and say we are having price controls but this is not going to help us.  The issue that we are dealing with here is gross market indiscipline that is bordered on profiteering.

Then in terms the raft of measures that we are coming with, I think there was a request yesterday by this august House to say the Ministry of Finance should come up with a Ministerial Statement.  I think these are some of the issues that we are going to deal with to say how then do we move forward given the fact that we have got such cases of indiscipline.  However, as I have rightly said, all these issues are contained in SI 127 which is now under the Finance Act. What is needed is for us to say let us move a step forward and ensure that we apply the administrative penalties as contained in the Finance Act. I submit.

HON. HWENDE: I feel that my question has not been answered. Cooking oil is an essential basic commodity and there are companies that are given special preferences on the auction market.  They get forex, manufacture cooking oil – for example,  Dumbbell United Refiners then they are selling the cooking oil for USD only to civil servants and general workers that are being paid in RTGs. Where do you expect them to get money to buy the cooking oil from?

HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. In terms of the administrative penalties, I am sure some of the Hon. Members saw the list that we published some two, three weeks ago. For those who are violating the auction rules, we move around as the Financial Intelligence Unit to check on those who are violating auction rules. Maybe the fines are not deterrent enough but in terms of the imposition of the administrative penalties, this is what we are doing literally on a daily basis. Maybe it is not deterrent enough but we are imposing the penalties. I submit.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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