Magwegwe MP Felix Magalela Sibanda (MDC-T) on Tuesday told Parliament that government should take urgent action to ensure banks and shops accepted soiled United States dollar notes to avoid exacerbating the suffering of old people and poor Zimbabweans.
Debating Finance minister Tendai Biti’s Mid-Term Budget Review, Sibanda said some shops were refusing to accept soiled notes, thereby causing unnecessary inconvenience to residents.
“Some shops are not taking soiled notes and it means after six months there will be no money and old people in the rural areas who have been keeping these notes are going to fail to use that money,” said Sibanda.
“I once went to the bank to try and change that money but they said they do not take orders from newspaper stories, but needed a directive from the minister to say they should take those soiled notes.”
Sibanda said bread was being overpriced in Zimbabwe and there was need to create competition whereby bread was sold for a dollar for three loaves to end the overpricing.
On civil servants’ salaries, Sibanda said: “What will happen is that in the event civil servants go without money, there will be chaos. Do we have a parallel Minister of Finance because the way the civil servants’ salaries were released was like there is a parallel Ministry of Finance?”
Debating the same motion, Uzumba MP Simbaneuta Mudarikwa (Zanu PF) said: “The issue of demonitisation created poverty across the board, but it is a criminal offence to just wake up and say you have no money in the bank. We have an obligation to pay back that money, and we have to start with the rural areas and pay back, as well as the old people.”
He said people purchased buildings and houses during the era when they were “burning” Zimbabwean dollars, but now those people who suddenly became landlords were overcharging tenants in United States dollars.