Parly surveys companies that refuse local currency
PARLIAMENT will soon launch urgent inquiries into manufacturers and wholesalers who do not accept local currency as payment for commodities despite obtaining foreign currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe auction system (RBZ).
It comes as President Mnangagwa recently revealed that his government penalized 12 banks for financial indiscipline in a crackdown that aimed to bring sanity back to the country’s economy after numerous market distortions.
The illicit practices of banks and some companies have led to unwarranted price hikes and inflation and ultimately hit the consumer the hardest.
However, the government has taken steps to restore sanity to the economy, including protecting the consumer from unscrupulous companies, as well as from the effects of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict which has led to grain and fuel shortages. Zimbabwe, which has not been spared by the geo-global changes, has through the RBZ auction system provided much-needed foreign exchange, but some of the recipients have misappropriated the funds that they get to the black market.
Besides the indiscipline of local businesses, the country, which is subject to illegal economic sanctions, has also been the target of a third force involving some Western capitals which has fueled the rise in prices.
However, the recent price spiral is a temporary setback given the various intervention measures put in place by the Second Republic.
The measures include the intensification of wheat agricultural production to face geopolitical challenges and a huge campaign to build irrigation projects to contain the effects of climate change.
For his part, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Barrister Jacob Mudenda, yesterday ordered the Industry and Commerce Portfolio Committee to carry out investigations after Rushinga lawmaker Tendai Nyabani raised a point of national interest saying that some unscrupulous entities were abusing foreign currency auctions for selfish gain.
“Some manufacturers and wholesalers do not accept Zimbabwean dollars as payment for commodities such as sugar, cooking oil and flour despite obtaining foreign currency at auction.
“The reason why the auction system was introduced was for the ultimate benefit of the ordinary consumer, but he does not profit from it,” Nyabani said.
Following Nyabani’s concerns, Advocate Mudenda said the matter was of great concern given the hardship endured by consumers and ordered Zanu-PF Chief Whip Pupurai Togarepi to brief the Chairman of the Portfolio Committee of Industry and Commerce, Joshua Sacco, that the committee should open urgent inquiries into the matter.
The president also advised Nyabani to raise the issue during today’s question and answer session with the ministers.
Commodity makers are prioritized to access foreign currencies at auctions to ensure their products are affordable for ordinary consumers.
While some businesses don’t accept local currency, some peg their prices at the black market rate, making them out of reach for many.
Last week, President Mnangagwa said the government would step up scrutiny of companies that abuse the foreign currency auction system to profit at the expense of ordinary people.