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Chinamasa threatens cash, forex traders

by Staff reporter
28 Sep 2017 at 06:26hrs | Views
CABINET has approved a host of measures to arrest artificial shortages of basic commodities and the price madness triggered by economic saboteurs through social media, with Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa firing warning shots at illegal cash vendors on the streets. Government will also pull the trigger on traders who prefer selling their commodities in United States dollar notes and hike prices for those using bank swipe, bond notes or Ecocash.

At a joint state-of-the-economy address in Harare yesterday, Minister Chinamasa, his Industry and Commerce counterpart Mike Bimha and Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe said the crisis was artificial and there was no need to panic. The ministers said Government was seriously considering counter-measures to safeguard the economy against social media abusers, including speeding up the enactment of cyber crime laws.

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Government, the ministers said, was also working on improving the availability of foreign currency to ensure consistent production and supply of cooking oil and other basic commodities. Minister Chinamasa said illegal cash vending was rampant on the streets, contributing to economic challenges the nation was facing, hence the need to arrest the vendors and seize their monies.

"We are worried about the presence of city vendors buying and selling currency in the streets. We are taking measures to ensure the police are empowered to arrest those elements and seize whatever currency involved. Where we establish that the illegal transactions were done through bank accounts, the legislation will empower the freezing of those bank accounts. We are also going to trace and understand the trail of money whether bond notes or US dollars, as that money leaves the central bank, goes to the commercial banks and finally to the customers. We will find the weak links and then close the loopholes," said Minister Chinamasa.

The minister said measures will be put in place to end the four-tear pricing system where prices for one commodity differ depending on the mode of payment. "The four-tear pricing system where traders would charge a price for cash US dollars, a different price for cash bond notes, one for RTGS and another for Ecocash should also come to an end," he said. Minister Chinamasa said Cabinet had since drafted and approved drastic measures to sanitise business and the measures were now being crafted into a Bill at the Attorney-General's Office.

If the measures were to be passed into law, the Minister said, will see the cancellation of licences for traders who receive money but do not take it to the bank. Minister Chinamasa said the artisanal mining sector was now a preserve of indigenous people adding that foreigners should quickly quit the business. "We have agreed that artisanal mining is a preserve of the indigenous players. Foreigners in that sector should simply leave the business to pave way for our own people. One cannot come from other continents to do gold panning here. That is an areas for our own people," said the minister.

Source - the herald