4 July 2019

Zimbabwe: Citizens Embrace Currency Reforms

Government is happy that citizens have embraced the currency reforms that culminated in the introduction of a local currency, the Zimbabwe dollar, but implored businesspeople to peg their price reasonably.

The currency reforms were announced through Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019, known as Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (Legal Tender) Regulations.

The reforms resulted in the scrapping of the multiple currency system and the introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar as the sole legal tender for local transactions.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists during a post-Cabinet briefing on Tuesday that citizens had "embraced" the new measures.

"Cabinet noted with satisfaction that the generality of Zimbabweans have positively embraced the recent introduction of the mono-currency, which had prompted the massive fall of the parallel market rate," said Minister Mutsvangwa. "Cabinet underscored the need to continue addressing the concerns by various sections of the citizenry through timeously availing the necessary information and the implementation of the necessary supportive and confidence building measures."

She said Cabinet called on the business sector and service providers to be "considerate and humane" in the manner in which they peg prices.

Upon introduction of the currency reforms on Monday last week, most businesses pushed up prices to extortionate levels, allegedly in a bid to "protect their stock" from being bought all at once by consumers.

But on realising that the measures are taking root, with the interbank market offering lucrative rates for foreign currency exchange compared to the parallel market.

Top quick service restaurant, Simbisa Brands yesterday announced a downward price review of its products such as Chicken Inn, pizza, and ice cream.

A two-piecer meal is now going for $20 from $25.

More prices are expected to come down on the back of currency stability and companies' ability to access the forex in bureaux de change as opposed to the parallel market.

Experts expect more citizens holding onto their forex to sell at bureaux de change across the country where they get competitive rates, but in so doing, channel foreign currency into the formal system.

Minister Mutsvangwa said Government remains committed to creating and fostering a business-friendly environment.

"It is our common interest to create a competitive and business-friendly environment which fosters investor confidence and decent livelihoods to all our citizens," she said.

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