But do we actually have foreign currency in Zimbabwe? Citizens speak
ZwNews Chief Correspondent
The Zimbabwean government is clamping down on foreign currency exchange dealers, the state says it is illegal to deal in foreign currency, and once caught, one is liable to a 10 year prison term.
However, some analysts are of the point that the country does not have what should be termed foreign currency, but they say the country only has multi currency, meaning that all the currencies in the basket should be termed just multi currency as they are.
They argue that for a country to claim that there is foreign currency, it should have its own currency in place, against which to measure and differentiate between the two.
“Zimbabwe is using multi currency, so how can they say the United State of America dollar is foreign currency.
“For one to claim that this is a wild animal, and that one is not, there should be one that is domesticated among the two, in our case, we only have a cage full of all wild animals.
“For one to be termed a foreigner in a place, there should be one who is native. So in Zimbabwe there is no native currency and as such there is no currency that should be termed foreign,” says one citizen.
Another citizen economist Simon Jambo, is of similar view, he says as it stands, the country is using multiple currencies, and any exchange of these currencies should not be criminalised.
“The main problem here is that the government says the token currency ‘bond note’ is at par with the US$, when it is not. If the two were at par, then all this drama could not have been there,” he says.
Meanwhile, the government maintains that the US$ and the surrogate bond note is at par, despite market forces confirming otherwise. It says anyone caught dealing in foreign currency is liable to a mandatory 10 year jail term.
In a related matter, a currency trader told ZwNews.com news crew when we took to the streets yesterday that the police are rounding up forex dealers amid reports of corruption and unrecorded cash confiscations.
“They are sending various young people in plain clothes, to pose as potential clients, once you start to trade, then they would arrest you, take you to a secluded place and search your bags, if they find any cash they take it just like that, before releasing you,” said one dealer only identified as Mai Beverly.
She says the police recently took her money after arresting her, and that she could not do anything, as she feared that it cannot be reported anywhere, for that could be tantamount to handing self to police and risk being jailed 10 years.
Another forex dealer, Tichaona Gukwe, agrees; “First it was police extorting kombis, and now they are after forex dealers.
“The bad thing is that the government is not getting anything, as after any arrest, the police only confiscate money and put into their own pockets.
“I was recently arrested at Eastgate, they just took the money, but the case was neither recorded down, nor is a docket opened,” he says.
He says when he showed displeasure about the incident, the police details who arrested him told him to choose between having his money simply taken away, and being jailed for 10 years.
Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency in 2009 after it had been destroyed by the hyper-inflation which had rendered it useless. Since then the country has been using multi currency, in conjunction with a token currency ‘the bond note,’ which was initially claimed to be an export incentive.
When the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mthuli Ncube recently presented his National Budget for 2019, he skirted the issue of addressing the foreign currency matter, but only maintained the multi currency regime.
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