The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Zimbabwe’s largest business organization, has condemned the arrest of business leaders saying this will only serve to destabilise the relationship between business and authorities as the two need to work together to reindustrialise the economy.
In a statement following the arrest of directors of Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed CFI Holdings, among others, CZI said following fruitful discussions between the government and business representatives on Monday to find a solution to curb the black market, it was hopeful that government and business would work simultaneously to correct the situation.
“Bad policy blurs the lines and results in criminal activity co-mingling with legitimate business survival decisions in a forex mispriced system,” CZI said.
“As we had stated in our submission, a heavy-handed approach to a problem that has its cause squarely in sub-optimal policy implementation creating arbitrage opportunities would be unsettling to the markets.
“It is our considered view that the measures agreed at the consultative dialogue should be given time to take effect as they are going to most likely cause an adjustment of behaviours in accordance with their efficacy on the challenges being addressed.
“Essentially, at the centre of this is a policy correction, when policies fail we should not arrest people, we should correct the policies for efficacy.”
The government blames business for sabotaging its recovery programme by pegging prices at the black market rate, thus fuelling discontent among the people, when some of the companies are sourcing foreign currency from the auction system where the exchange rate is $90.0-8 while the black market rate is as high as $200 to a United States dollar.
Authorities started arresting some trading companies soon after Monday’s meeting for pricing goods using the black market rate, a move that has seen some dropping their cross rate to the auction rate but without reducing prices resulting in them getting more United States dollars.
The central bank has also named and shamed eight financial firms and 77 individuals for illegally dealing in foreign currency.
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