Zimbabwe to soldier on with local currency though it is under attack 


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Zimbabwe will not dollarise and will continue to use its local currency but it has been forced to pay civil servants part of their salaries in United States dollars because its currency is under attack, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi who is also leader of government business in Parliament said yesterday.

Responding to a question from Citizens Coalition for Change vice-president Tendai Biti on why the country was not simply dollarising because people’s incomes were being eroded, Ziyambi said the local currency was under attack because of sanctions on Zimbabwe.

He said civil servants were being paid part of their salaries in US dollars because the government was mindful of their plight.

“We are giving a component in US dollars and another one in Zimbabwe dollars.  We are mindful that because of our situation, our currency is the easiest target, hence we decided deliberately as a policy to pay a certain component,” Ziyambi said.

“I am aware that there are negotiations that are going on in terms of ensuring that we come up with an agreement on a salary structure that will be given.  We have already acknowledged that because our currency is under attack, we are giving a certain component as US dollars.”

Ziyambi, however, said Zimbabwe will continue to use its own currency.

“We will continue to soldier on despite the fact that those that are calling for the return of the United States dollar are the ones that made sure that we suffer so that they can scream on top of their voices….

“Hon. Speaker, the effect of sanctions is to ensure that the people suffer.  If you take for instance any country and you compare it with Zimbabwe in terms of ease of transacting with the whole world, if you do a business transaction in Zimbabwe, for example you send money to China and somebody in Zambia sends to the same company, money from Zimbabwe will take a week or two and from Zambia it takes two days.

“The net effect of that is, our economy will be in slow mode because of the sanctions and the growth of our economy is different from any other country.  Our ability to pay will now be retarded because of our failure to have a throughput that is fast.

“My call to him (Biti) is, if you want us to pay decent salaries, let us have a level playing field whereby we can trade equally with anyone and our economy will be able to pay all our civil servants comparable to anyone in the world.”

Q &A:

HON. BITI:  My question is to the Leader of Government Business in the House in the absence of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development who you did not excuse when you read out a list of apologies.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the cost of living is rising exponentially.  The cost of basic commodities like cooking oil, bread, milk and rentals is rising.  Equally, the consumer basket has now gone up.  For a family of six, it is now in excess of $120 000.  Only yesterday the official exchange rate was 145, but in shops…

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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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