BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is headed for another clash with cross-border traders and ordinary citizens after announcing plans to compel travellers to disclose their source of foreign currency at the country’s border posts, failure of which the State will forfeit their imported goods.
Finance deputy minister Clemence Chiduwa Chiduwa made the revelations during a Press conference in Harare yesterday. He claimed the measures were geared towards taming black market operations.
“What we should do as government, which is what we are working on now, is to refine the policy to say we have designated commercial banks, where we get our foreign currency freely from our nostro accounts,” Chiduwa said.
“What is needed on our part is compliance and enforcement. Just to give you a bit on what we are working on at the moment, we are all aware that most of the people buy money on the parallel market and they go to buy goods outside the country.
“But when you are coming back, before you declare the goods, you have to first declare the official source of the foreign currency. The moment you declare goods, in the event that you are not able to declare the official source of foreign currency, you forfeit whatever you have to the State. So this will deal with black market operations.”
Chiduwa said indexing prices to the United States dollar was a major driver of inflation, estimated at 440% in October.
“Government is committed to the use of the Zimdollar as a unit of exchange. There has been an indexation of prices against the exchange rate. All the laws guiding the operations of economic agency are in place,” he said.
Government has failed to control parallel market activities and currently, the greenback is trading against the Zimbabwe dollar at 1:21, while the official rate is pegged at 1:15.
The selling of money on the black market was banned in September 2017 when the now late former President Robert Mugabe issued Statutory Instrument 122A of 2017 Exchange Control (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (No 5) to tame rife cash vending on the streets.
The law empowered police to arrest money peddlers and take hold of the traded currency.
Meanwhile, Finance secretary George Guvamatanga said government would soon unveil higher denominations of money to bring convenience to the transacting public.
Guvamatanga said some of the bond coins and notes would gradually be withdrawn from circulation.