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Service providers stop trading in Zimdollars

by Staff reporter
07 Apr 2024 at 10:07hrs | Views
A MAJORITY of service providers and shops in the country were yesterday rejecting payments in local currency arguing that they were migrating to the new Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) currency in a development that left the transacting public stranded.

They were accepting transactions in forex only following the Monetary Policy Statement announced by Reserve Bank Governor Dr John Mushayavanhu that came with a new currency.

The developments also saw the abandonment of forex traders' hotspots in the city as the announcement of the monetary policy statement also took the city's illegal money changers by surprise, as they find their services largely unneeded by their usual clients.

Around Tredgold Building and opposite Bootleggers Bottle Store, hotspots for money changers in the city, there was little to no activity.

Several financial services providers such as banks and mobile money transfer agencies suspended local currency transactions through messages to their clients.

"We would like to advise our valued customers that we are currently in the process of configuring our systems to allow the changeover from the ZWL currency to the new ZiG currency in compliance with Statutory Instrument (SI) 60 of 2024," reads a statement by mobile network provider Econet Wireless Services.

A message from one bank reads: "Valued Client. Regrettably, due to a currency switchover exercise, all ZWL transactions are currently unavailable. We will advise when normal service has been restored."

Money changers who spoke to this publication also expressed concern that a more stable currency might render them irrelevant.

Money changers who were working yesterday busied themselves with electronic fund transfers (EFT) mostly between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

"If the currency is widely accepted, then it could be a problem for us because we are dependent on juggling the rate. At this point, no one knows and we are just holding the money we have in our accounts hoping that the situation will be favourable for us when normal business resumes," said one money changer who refused to be named.

A number of people interviewed yesterday expressed confidence in the monetary policy although some were still sceptical and lacked confidence in it.

Miss Valencia Ndhlovu, a student at the National University of Science and Technology, studying towards a Degree in Economics and Econometrics commended the Monetary Policy Statement noting that the introduction of the ZiG currency was a positive step towards the attainment of Vision 2030.

"I am excited about the new currency because it shows the determination of our Government to improve the economy as we move towards Vision 2030. The currency is still new to us and we don't know much about it, I am hoping as a nation we will quickly learn more about it, and how it can make Zimbabwe's economy better and adapt. I trust that the Government is doing all it can to better our lives," said Miss Ndhlovu.

Mr Prince Dube from Thorngrove said there was a need for the RBZ to restore market confidence in the local currency so that it gets accepted by citizens.

"People are not sure about the consistency of the value of the ZiG, if the RTGS changed value daily, what guarantee do we have that the ZiG will not follow the same route? All RTGS systems are not functioning, and people are sceptical about using their US$ because of fear," said Mr Dube.

Miss Nobuhle Gumbo from Nketa 7 said while she was still trying to understand how the ZiG would operate. She said it was her wish that it stabilises the economy.

"The arrival of the new currency has left me with mixed feelings. I am still in the dark about how it works but I am very hopeful that it will transform our lives for the better and put an end to inflation.

"My deepest wish is that it brings stability to our economy and breathes value into our currency. In general, we are hoping for positive change," said Miss Gumbo.

Dr Mashayavanhu directed that all current ZW$ balances be re-denominated to ZiG balances.

"In preparation for the structured currency, it is important that stakeholders involved in the payment systems sector are  ready to onboard the new ZiG currency.

"The same will be expected in the rest of the economy as transactions will henceforth be undertaken in ZiG.

"By April 8, 2024 (Monday), Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), who are essential to the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, will also be expected to ensure that all of their customers can effortlessly transition from ZW$ wallets to ZiG wallets," said the RBZ Governor.

He further directed that once the local currency is re-denominated in Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG), all domestic traders are expected to consistently modify their pricing strategy to account for the currency reforms from the RBZ.

The Governor gave all entities, other than banks and MNOs, seven days from last Friday to have completed the configuration of their systems to conduct business in ZiG.

Source - The Sunday News
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