4 July 2019

Zimbabwe: Police Warn Shops Still Selling in U.S.$

Police have warned business entities and individuals against charging for goods and services in foreign currency, saying the long arm of the law will catch up with them. Government last week scrapped the multi-currency system and adopted a single domestic transactional unit, through Statutory Instrument 142/2019.

The Zimbabwean dollar (bond notes, coins and RTGS) is now the sole legal tender.

Despite the law banning use of other currencies, some business entities have continued selling their goods and services in foreign currency.

In a statement, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi urged members of the public to report those acting contrary to the law.

"In the same vein, supermarkets and shops are implored to display commodity prices in order to allow members of the public to access goods and services in an environment which gives them room to plan, coordinate and buy the items freely without any form of manipulation by unscrupulous dealers.

"The ZRP warns all those who are charging commodities in United States dollars that they risk being arrested as the law will be applied without fear or favour. Members of the public should report such people to any nearest police station or the National Complaints Desk on telephone numbers 0242-703631 or WhatsApp number 0712800197," Asst Comm Nyathi said.

Last week, President Mnangagwa threw his weight behind the scrapping of the multi-currency system and adoption of a single domestic transactional unit, explaining the development will help the economy to grow out of the bog of the previous regime.

Further, the President said conditions for the introduction of a new currency are in place as key fundamentals such as decreased spending, increased revenues and budget surpluses, have been achieved through sweeping reforms embarked upon since October last year.

He said the use of multiple currencies since 2009 denied the country control of monetary policy and left the economy at the mercy of US dollar pricing, which brought inflation.

Addressing journalists on the sidelines of the African Union-United Nations Wildlife Economy Summit in Victoria Falls recently, President Mnangagwa said Government had not banned possession of foreign currency, but its use for domestic transactions, buttressing the policy announced by fiscal and monetary authorities.

He also said by having its own currency, the country has returned to "normalcy".

"Zimbabwe has gone back to normalcy; the normalcy is the country must have its own currency. We have been living in an abnormal situation.

"We have removed a basket of currencies we had. Our currency is denominated by coins, notes and RTGS, all that is domestic currency and can be used for (local) transactions," he said.

President Mnangagwa said those with foreign currency would have to exchange it for the Zimbabwe dollar at bureaux de change for them to transact, while foreigners could still bring their Visa cards and swipe.

Last Monday, Government removed the multi-currency regime and restricted domestic transactions to the Zimbabwe dollar to enhance the affordability of goods and services by the majority.

The currency reforms were done through Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019.

Government took the route on realising that the market was choosing to price most goods and services in US dollars when the majority of citizens were earning the local unit.

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