Sunday, 21 July, 2019

ZCTU promises shutdown over US Dollar banning

Policy shift... RBZ governor John Mangudya Policy shift... RBZ governor John Mangudya
Patty Aguilar | 25 June, 2019, 23:46

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said the situation in the country where others earning United States dollars were enjoying stability while those who earn local currency had become "unfair and unsustainable".

Worldwide and regional currencies such as the rand, US Dollar, Botswana Pula and British Pound will no longer be acceptable in Zimbabwe as legal tender after the Finance Minister gazetted mandatory and sole usage of the Zimbabwe Dollar for all local transactions.

But a hoped-for economic turnaround is yet to materialise, and many Zimbabweans are distrustful of Mnangagwa's promises.

In a step towards the introduction of a new currency, the bank said that U.S. dollars and the rand would be replaced by two local parallel currencies - "bond notes" and electronic RTGS dollars, which will be known as "Zimbabwe dollars".

In a press statement held in Harare on Tuesday ZCTU said, "With impunity and no sense of shame, the government is shying away from responsibility for the destruction of the local currency in the first instance and now the multi currency system that it inherited from a functional state of the GNU in 2013".

In January, the ZCTU led nationwide protests against a 150 per cent fuel price increase, triggering a violent crackdown by the army and police, which left at least 12 people dead, according to rights groups.

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The currency crisis had created three tiers of pricing - one price in USA dollar cash, and two far higher prices for paying in bond notes or electronic RTGS.

Zimbabwe's central bank reversed a ten-year-old policy that recognised a basket of foreign currencies as legal tender, ordering businesses to only price goods and services in local currency.

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While more than 80 per cent of Zimbabweans earn RTGS dollars, goods ranging from bricks to groceries have their prices pegged in US dollars.

Zimbabweans have little faith in the economic record of the ZANU-PF government, which was led by president Robert Mugabe until 2017 when he was ousted in favour of Mnangagwa.

Zimbabwe abandoned its own dollar in 2009 after years of hyperinflation had destroyed trust in the local unit. He told reporters in Victoria Falls that the country had returned to normalcy. The country must have its own currency. We should actually be congratulating ourselves for taking this step'.

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