Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mthuli Ncube says the government came up with the name RTGS$ for the country’s local currency so as not to confuse the public.
The term RTGS stands for Real Time Gross Settlement, a method of payment using electronic money transfer systems.
Responding to questions put out to him by legislators in Parliament yesterday, one would term a busy day in his office, Ncube said they chose the name after considerations and settled for the term RTGS for the local currency.
Meanwhile, since the coming on board of the local currency, it has stirred debates in social circles, people saying RTGS is a form of electronic means of payment and not a currency. Citizen economists argued that money or ‘a currency’ have certain characteristics that makes it a noticeable token for payment, and that RTGS lack such characteristics to be termed as a currency.
Meanwhile, legislator Charles Moyo asked Ncube as to why the government gave the local currency the name RTGs and asked if the term is not fueling the serious fluctuations in the exchange rate. For the RTGS lack characteristics of being a currency. The MP also queried Ncube if the government failed to have a better name for the currency other than to call it RTGS a globally known mode of payment and not a currency.
Ncube responded; “Well, we did mull over a few names as we were thinking about what name we would give to this unit of account and we thought calling it RTGs dollar would work better because citizens are already used to using RTGS as electronic currency.
“Almost everyone knows about it.
“We did not want to come up with a completely new name which would then confuse the public. We thought RTGs dollar was already well known and perhaps would work.”
Apparently, it was a busy time for the minister yesterday, as MPs had been waiting for his presence in the House to answer to their burning questions. Ncube had not been attending parliament for a number of times, owing to being busy elsewhere on government business, as he tried to sort out the country’s economy which has been on a free-fall for decades now.
MPs tried to ambush him on Wednesday, when he showed up in the House, only to be saved by the Speaker who said the minister could not be taken in a huff without being prepared.
On Wednesday, legislator Settlement Chikwinya had asked that; “In terms of Section 107 (2) of the Constitution, Vice Presidents, Ministers and their Deputies are supposed to come to Parliament to answer questions.
Hon. Mthuli Ncube has not been coming to Parliament and we understand that he is a man with a busy office and we have accepted the apologies.”
He added that parliamentarians had noted with concern that the majority of Ministers who were quizzed pointed to Ncube’s office for their failures to deliver.
Chikwinya gave the example of how Jorum Gumbo, the then Minister of Energy and Power Development had told Parliament prior that his ministry had mobilised the fuel which had since been delivered in Mabvuku but the Minister of Finance has not yet paid.
He added that the previous day again, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya had given a statement to the press that they had issued out what they term Letters of Credit which he hoped the Minister was able to explain.
Chikwinya told the House that he was delighted to see the minister present in Parliament and demanded that he should answer the questions.
“We cannot allow the House to adjourn when the Hon Minister is in the House,” Chikwinya demanded.
However, the temporary speaker William Mutomba had suggested the minister would answer the issues raised on Thursday.
“Hon. Chikwinya, your point is noted very much but as you are aware, the Minister has just come in. I think it is only proper that we ask the Minister to come with a Ministerial Statement tomorrow,” the speaker had asked.
To which Hon. Regai Tsunga begged for assurance that the minister would be available; “On a point of order, we just need an assurance from the Minister since he is here that tomorrow he will be available.”
The speaker answered the minister will certainly do so.