Zimbabwe is currently using multiple currencies so it is illegal for anyone to insist on payment in United States dollars, Deputy Finance Minister Clemence Chiduwa told the Senate yesterday, addding that the government was doing everything to ensure that this anomaly is rectified so that there is market discipline.
Chiduwa was told that this practice was rampant, even in rural areas.
“Hon. Minister, you responded to the question but you did not address the key issue in the question that in some shops you are told that you cannot buy goods if you do not have the US dollar. The question is; what happens and how are you going to address that because that person is paid in Zim-dollars? I saw that happening in rural areas and wondered how the elderly are surviving and how they get the US dollars to buy commodities in shops. How are you going to address that?” Senator Elias Mudzuri asked.
Chiduwa responded: “I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mudzuri for the question that there are people being denied commodities because they do not have USD. I believe this is a problem of coverage and we are not represented in all areas.
“The Financial Intelligence Unit under the RBZ works with the law enforcement agents. We have a Ministry hotline which is published in newspapers where cases similar to this are reported. When we receive such information or reports, we update our records.
“As of now, we have penalised some companies for amounts ranging from US$50 000-60 000.00 – these were charging in USD exclusively. We are fining perpetrators and it is a matter of time, we are going to allow the hand of the law to stretch far and wide so that we correct this anomaly so that there is market discipline. “
Several legislators have argued that fining these business enterprises does not work because they have too much money. They advocated instead that the government names and shames them by publishing their names in the media.
HON. SEN. PHUGENI: At least the Minister of Finance is here, so accordingly the question goes to him. The Senate has been correctly asking about the runaway inflation and what the Government is doing to cushion our people against it. Madam President of the Senate wrote a letter to the Ministry to come and address the Senate on the matter. The Minister responded by saying he requests an opportunity to address the National Assembly first, thereafter the Minister would come here and address the Senate on the matter. Suffice to say all that has not happened but the runaway inflation continues.
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