Zimbabwe urged to name and shame companies abusing the foreign currency facility as fines do not work


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HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. The submission by the Hon. Member is valid that whenever we come up with policies, we need to ensure that we minimise arbitrage opportunities. Now that we have got the auction rates and willing buyer willing seller, the medium to long term trajectory is when there is conversions in the rates, we should reach a stage where we are going to use one rate. What is critical is that the dollar should be in a position to discover its own position and this is what is going to be obtaining in the market. I agree with the Hon. Member that we need to reach that stage where we should use a single rate, not the existence of the auction rate and the willing buyer willing seller. This is where we are going and that is the policy trajectory. Thank you.

HON. KASHIRI: On a point of order Hon. Speaker Sir. May the Hon. Minister explain in vernacular so that listeners who are listening to the proceedings can understand?

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, Zimbabweans are educated and they understand. I thank you.

HON. MUDARIKWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The question which was asked by Hon. Nyabani regards to basic commodities like cooking oil, flour, et cetera.  The response by the Hon. Minister was that when the Financial Intelligence Unit uncovers such activities, it fines business entities.  My suggestion is, why not blacklist such business entities from the auction?  You would find that the ZFC was given money from the auction but they are not accepting local currency.  It is important that such companies be published and blacklisted.  This is the responsibility of the RBZ.  The fining of offenders is not stringent enough.  The RBZ is now responsible for regulating, investigating, charging fines; so there is no separation of powers and there is no transparency.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  I think the import of the question is stiffer penalties.  Can you answer Hon. Minister?

HON. CHIDUWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would also want to thank Hon. Mudarikwa.  In what the Hon. Member said, all the companies which are found to be violating the auction system are being blacklisted.  There are no sacred cows on violation of regulations, especially those who receive foreign currency and misuse it.  That is why you would notice that for those who were buying gas, the whole sector was blacklisted because of malpractice.  We use civil and administrative charges, which means that we do not go to the courts.  When we introduced S.I 127, which was incorporated into the Finance Act, we only apply administrative and civil charges and this is what we are doing.  Those who are found to be violating the law are being fined and blacklisted.  Thank you.

HON. MARKHAM:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My supplementary question is following up on the issue of fines.  Fines do not work with people who have got a lot of money because they just pay.  Jail sentences should be considered.  However, what I cannot understand Hon. Minister is, we had a recent case where 100 computers were stolen and names were publicised, there was judgement and jail sentence yet with these guys who are stealing money from this country, they are not named.  We do not know who they are?  The Ministry intends to blacklist them.  Why are they not publicised?  Finally, if this continues, it will get bigger because I just pay and I go back.  Mr. Speaker Sir, it is very clear that if I get caught today, tomorrow I will go back to the auction floor because I have got more than one bank account.  If the Hon. Minister is serious, publish the names.  Thank you.

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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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