Law enforcement authorities have issued a stern warning to illegal money changers, stating that they will face arrest and prosecution if they persist in undermining the newly introduced ZiG currency, as announced yesterday.

Last week, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr. John Mushayavanhu unveiled the new currency, which is backed by the country’s gold and foreign currency reserves. Nearly all banking systems, along with most shops and service providers, have already transitioned to the new currency, with ZiG notes and coins set to enter circulation on April 30.

However, the recent opening of electronic banking systems has prompted the resurgence of illegal money changers on the streets. Despite a temporary halt in operations during the initial transition period, these illicit activities have resumed.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi emphasized that law enforcement agencies are prepared to apprehend individuals engaging in unlawful foreign currency trading, particularly those attempting to manipulate the ZiG currency. Offenders will face prosecution, including possible imprisonment and seizure of illicit funds.

Nyathi reiterated the government’s commitment to stamping out illegal money-changing practices, echoing statements from Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube urging swift action against offenders.

Under Zimbabwean law, unlicensed foreign currency traders can face up to 10 years in prison, along with asset forfeiture. The surge in black market exchange rates has contributed to increased prices of goods and services, prompting government intervention to address the issue.

Dr. Mushayavanhu expressed confidence in the ZiG’s ability to counter the black market, assuring that the new currency would remain stable against the US dollar. The central bank has pledged to meet legitimate businesses’ foreign currency needs, eliminating the necessity for resorting to the black market for transactions.

Economists and the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee anticipate a significant reduction in inflation, projected to reach five percent by year-end, following the removal of exchange rate volatility.