THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's Financial Intelligence Unit has charged 256 companies for illegally dealing in foreign currency, as Government cracks down on manipulators through speculative behaviour, the Senate has been told.
During Senate question time, Finance and Economic Development Deputy Minister Clemence Chiduwa said some individuals and firms were deviating from legitimate economic activities that created wealth and resorting to activities whose effect was to create phantom money through illegal activities.
Senators had asked what the Government was doing to arrest financial indiscipline that has resulted in an arbitrary rise in prices of goods and services without any underlying reasons.
"We have arrested 256 companies. Some of them are big firms involved in the black market. People no longer want to work. They no longer want to derive money from legitimate means like production, but casino activities. A country is built through production and wealth creation," said Deputy Minister Chiduwa.
"We have people who want to prosper through phantom money or casino activities."
His Ministry will soon issue a comprehensive statement outlining several intervention measures being taken to curb financial indiscipline
Responding to another question, Energy and Power Development Deputy Minister Magna Mudyiwa said fuel charged in local currency was available in limited quantities and most of it was being channelled towards essential services such as hospitals.
She was responding to a question on why fuel sold in local currency not available to the motoring public.
Deputy Minister Mudyiwa said fuel in local currency constituted less than a quarter of direct fuel imports.
"The Zimbabwe dollar fuel is low in quantities. Those service stations selling fuel exclusively in foreign currency would have imported using their free funds. Those service stations selling fuel in local currency would have obtained foreign currency from the auction market. But that fuel usually goes to Government departments such as hospitals, Zesa and CMED," she said.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Deputy Minister, David Musabayana, said Government was engaged with South Africa on dealing with xenophobic attacks which he described as purely criminal.
He said the assault of foreigners in South Africa, particularly Zimbabweans, was against the laws of that country.
"As a Government we are engaging South Africa which has equally condemned the attacks on foreigners. We believe that with more engagements and more education they will realise that we are brothers," deputy Minister Musabayana said.