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'No more forex for education fees' said RBZ - what a savage blow, delivered with heartless indifference

26 Feb 2019 at 13:25hrs | Views
"Foreign currency from the inter-bank market shall be utilised for current bonafide foreign payment invoices except for education fees," said Reserve Bank Governor, Dr John Mangudya.

There are hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean students outside the country partly or partly dependent of cash payments from Zimbabwe. How are they going to manage now?

This is an outrage! It must be said here and loud as church bells that these students were forced to student outside Zimbabwe because decades of poor funding has left most education institutions in Zimbabwe without lecturers, no books, poor facilities, etc. etc. The quality of education they are providing is so poor most people had no choice but to send their child or relative outside Zimbabwe.

Whilst one accepts the economic reality of a crippling shortage of foreign currency but even this is a Zanu PF man-made problem too. It is the 38 years of rampant corruption and gross mismanagement that have destroyed the country's once booming economy.

Zanu PF seized most of the former white-owned farms to give them to party chefs and their cronies. Zimbabwe used to grow enough food to feed its own people with plenty leftover for export. We used to be the breadbasket of the region. Since the farm seizures, the country has struggled to produce enough to feed its own people. We now have rely on import food and good to be paid for in foreign currency which we do not have since we now produce very little.

Government should never have to tell the citizen how they should spend their money. If someone decides to spend their hard earned money in providing as good an education as they possibly can; it is their choice and it is none of government's business to interfere, especially when it is the same government's corrupt and incompetence that has forced the parent to make very expensive choices.

Governor Mangudya's policy announcement was reckless and foolish. There are a number of common sense options he should have explored:

1)    Government should have started by announcing that no foreign currency will be available for new students.

2)    Forcing anyone to abandon his/her studies is a waste of all the resources to get the student this far and should never ever be taken lightly. Government should have explored other ways to save the foreign currency. A recent report showed government was failing to pay $600 000 for student living allowance in Russia and yet Mnangagwa was paying US$ 25 million for a hired Jet for a 10 day jaunt.

3)    If the foreign currency outflows in student fees are still unaffordable then Government should have negotiated alternative payment arrangements the relevant institutions/nations. Most institutions would rather take a hair-cut of the fees than lose it all, they cannot fill a second or third year vacant position.

"No foreign currency allocation for education fees!" This must have been a  hammer blow to the parent, relatives and all the students studying outside Zimbabwe who relied on money from Zimbabwe. My heart bleeds for you all, the more so when it is not your fault but this Zanu PF regime's fault that you are in this mess!

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