THE Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) has urged the business community and other stakeholders in the country to support the Government's decision to ban the quoting of foreign currency as a legal tender for local business transactions.
ZACA executive secretary Muyunda Ililonga said in an interview yesterday that the business community should support Government's move as it would create confidence the economy.
Mr Ililonga said the business community can only thrive under a stable economic environment.
"What Government has done is a measure to create an environment for the business community to thrive," Mr Ililonga said.
Finance Minister, Alexander Chikwanda, signed a Statutory Instrument (SI) number 33 of 2012 which would be enforced by the Bank of Zambia.
The SI prohibits the quoting, paying or demanding to be paid or receiving foreign currency for goods and services in Zambia.
Anyone found guilty would be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 10 years or will be made to pay a fine.
Mr Ililonga said his association was aware that when the country was faced with high inflation, it was common for businesspersons to transact in foreign currency due to turbulence of the economy.
"But the economy is stable, the inflation is low, bank interest rates are low and there is nothing that warrants people to transact in dollar. This will only make citizens lose confidence in their own currency," Mr Ililonga said.
Mr Ililonga also said that dollarisation was not necessary for a sovereign country like Zambia and therefore its tender should be respected by all.
He noted that the tendency of conducting businesses in foreign currencies was putting most consumers in the disadvantaged position.
Mr Ililonga said that with the instability in the local currency, consumers were treated to a market of unreliable prices for goods and services, thereby contributing to the country having a lot of uncertainties in exchange markets.
He said ZACA felt that the decision was progressive and should be enforced for the benefit of consumers in the country.