You also mentioned that school fees should be paid in US dollars only but that is against government policy. It was pronounced that we are now using both the US dollar and the Zimbabwean dollar. Where we are charging in US dollars, all parties should allow payment in Zim- dollars using the existing auction rate. Where people are charging exclusively in US dollars, that becomes a crime which needs civil penalties. Hon. Senator, this is the current position.
The other issue which you might have wanted addressed is the stability in the rationalization of invoices which I mentioned. As government, we are paying all contractors. We know our contractual obligation and our accounting officers are going to ensure that rationalization is done where invoices were given using forward pricing. We will continue to honour our obligations and that is the position we have as government. Thank you Hon. Senator.
*HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: 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?
THE HON DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I thought the Minister said it is illegal and government can institute civil penalties.
*HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: The Minister said that but we want an answer from Government on how they are going to do it because it is happening now. It is happening in schools and this is a question which was raised and needs to be responded to.
*HON. CHIDUWA: 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. I thank you.