FORMER MDC legislator for Bulilima East, Norman Mpofu has urged Industry and Commerce minister Mangaliso Ndlovu, to rein in unscrupulous cement dealers in Plumtree who were rejecting the bond note and RTGS and are only accepting foreign currency.
BY SILAS NKALA
This, he said, is happening despite government’s recent warning to traders who are marking their goods in foreign currency.
Mpofu said a 50kg bag of cement was being sold for US$10 and between R120 to R140 and called on the current Bulilima East legislator, Ndlovu, to intervene.
“As long as Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and cattle buyers pay by real-time gross settlement systems (RTGS) and bond, civil servants are paid in bond, our war vets are paid in bond,our soldiers are paid in bond, then bond is a legal tender in Zimbabwe. No one should reject it,” Mpofu said.
“The nation deserves an explanation. What is so special about cement that it cannot be paid for in bond? If we can pay for fuel in bond, why not cement? If pharmacies have been ordered to stop nonsense of demanding American dollars for drugs why are cement dealers are allowed to abuse citizens?”
Mpofu said it’s now impossible for most Zimbabweans to buy cement.
“This cement is produced right here in Zimbabwe, unlike fuel. Someone big is benefiting. Let me warn President Emmerson Mnangagwa with my little voice. The povo [majority], the farmers, the war vets, the teachers are being provoked. They are getting angrier by the day. It is him who will pay,” Mpofu said.
“We strongly believe that these dealers are linked to the high-ranking government officials. Why would they so openly reject bond notes when it is the only local legal tender available?. They do not even want to cross rate even if we ask them to do so.”
He said government must act now considering that in the first place citizens never wanted the bond note.
Mpofu said fearing the newly imposed law on illegal forex dealing, no one would dare buy foreign currency on the black market.
The new law under the Unexplained Wealth Orders Statute prescribes a 10-year custodial sentence for illegal forex dealers. The policy was introduced by Mnangagwa to mitigate the rampaging foreign currency black market.
Ndlovu over the weekend said government is considering taking stern measures against unscrupulous manufacturers that increase prices of their products despite being allocated foreign currency by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for the procurement of raw materials to protect consumers from unwarranted price hikes.
Ndlovu said his ministry was aware of some manufacturers that have clandestinely increased prices of the goods despite obtaining foreign currency support from government.
“We are discouraging businesses from wanton price increases and we are aware of unscrupulous activities they are employing and how a lot of them are trying to beat the system. We are working around issues to come up with proper mechanism of curbing that,” Ndlovu told journalists.