Zimbabwe Sets Up Shops With Subsidised Goods for Military

Zimbabwe is setting up grocery shops at military barracks to sell subsidised basic commodities to soldiers as the cost of living continues to soar.

The southern African country has seen an increase in unrest in the past months with civil servants engaging in several strikes over poor pay.

Late last year, public hospitals were closed for over four months after doctors went on strike demanding to be paid in foreign currency.

Doctors only returned to work after billionaire Strive Masiyiwa offered to pay each doctor a $300 monthly allowance for six months through his through his Higher Life Foundation.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said the 'garrison' shops will use a coupon system.

"They can only access those coupons once a month to buy those goods so they can be in these cantonments or outside, it doesn't matter," Professor Ncube said.

"It is a global norm and we will not be the first to do that. Uniformed forces have such shops in cantonment areas as part of their service benefits."

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists in Harare, "Garrison shops will be established to enable all members of the defence forces who will be on the GEMSF (government employees mutual service fund) to have the additional benefit of accessing subsidised basic commodities that will be sold in the specialised shops located within cantonment areas."

Last year, Zimbabwe ended a decade of dollarisation and re-introduced its own currency.

However, the Zimbabwe dollar has been losing value rapidly against major currencies, fuelling hyperinflation.

Early this month, the army denied reports of poor morale among soldiers due to poor remuneration and lack of rations.

A number of soldiers have also been arrested in recent weeks after they were involved in a spate of armed robberies.

In 2017 the military toppled long-time ruler Robert Mugabe and one of the reasons they cited for his removal was the deteriorating economic situation in the country.

The economic deterioration has been worse by the international community's continues isolation of Zimbabwe and intermittent droughts.

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