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Parly probes companies refusing local currency

by Staff reporter
22 Jun 2022 at 06:40hrs | Views
PARLIAMENT will soon institute urgent investigations into manufacturers and wholesalers that are not accepting local currency as a means of payment for basic commodities despite obtaining foreign currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) auction system.

This comes as President Mnangagwa recently revealed that his Government penalised 12 banks for financial indiscipline during a crackdown that was meant to bring back sanity into the country's economy after a lot of market distortions.

The illicit practices of banks and some corporates have resulted in unjustified price hikes, and inflation and ultimately hit the consumer hardest.

However, Government has taken up measures that are designed to bring back sanity into the economy through inter-alia protecting the consumer from unscrupulous businesses, and also the effects of the Russian/Ukraine conflict that has resulted in shortages of both grain and fuel. Zimbabwe, which has not been spared by geo-global shifts, has, through the RBZ auction system, been providing the much-needed foreign currency to businesses, but some of the beneficiaries have been diverting the funds they receive to the black market.

Apart from indiscipline among local businesses, the country, which is under illegal economic sanctions, has also been a target of a third force involving some Western capitals that has fuelled price increases.

However, the recent price spiral is a temporary setback given the various intervention measures that the Second Republic has instituted.

The measures include intensification of crop production of wheat to deal with geopolitical challenges and a huge drive to construct irrigation projects to contain the effects of climate change.

On his part, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, yesterday directed the Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce to carry out investigations after Rushinga legislator Tendai Nyabani raised a point of national interest saying some unscrupulous entities were abusing the foreign currency auction for selfish gains.

"Some manufacturers and wholesalers are not accepting the Zimbabwe dollar as payment for basic commodities such as sugar, cooking oil, and flour despite obtaining foreign currency from the auction.

"The reason why the auction system was introduced was for the ultimate benefit of the ordinary consumer but they are not benefitting," Nyabani said.

Following Nyabani's concerns, Advocate Mudenda said the matter was of great concern given the hardships being endured by consumers and directed Zanu-PF Chief Whip Pupurai Togarepi to inform the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce, Joshua Sacco, that the committee had to institute urgent investigations into the matter.

The Speaker also advised Nyabani to raise the matter during today's Question and Answer session with Ministers.

Manufacturers of basic commodities are a priority in accessing foreign currency at the auction to ensure that their products are affordable to ordinary consumers.

While some businesses are not accepting the local currency, some are pegging their prices against the black market rate making them out of reach to many.

Last week, President Mnangagwa said Government would intensify the monitoring of businesses that are abusing the foreign currency auction system to profiteer at the expense of ordinary people.

Source - The Herald