BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube has described litigations against the reintroduction of the Zimbabwean dollar and ban on the use of foreign currencies as “misguided”.
Currently, there are three cases at the High Court challenging Statutory Instrument (SI) 142 of 2019 as unconstitutional and overstepping the powers of government ministers.
“The litigations are misguided. All the actions we have taken are within the law. We consulted with the legal profession both within government and outside, verified that we were within the law. So I am not too sure if it is warranted to be heading for the courts to deal with SI 142, but if people want to do, then it’s their legal right,” Ncube said at a breakfast meeting hosted by Daily News yesterday.
“If it is being challenged because certain members feel aggrieved, that is how they feel. They should challenge and they have done, by the way, so I don’t need to convince them. But what I am saying is that we consulted, acted within the law and it is the right thing to do to move Zimbabwe forward. It needs its own domestic currency and I believe this is the right way to go.”
According to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya, who also attended the meeting, since the SI was introduced a week ago, between US$8 million and US$9 million has been traded on the interbank market and bureaux de change.
Mangudya added that since February 22, to the end of June, US$644 million had been traded on the interbank forex platform.
The market continues to be sceptical about the Zimbabwean dollar leading to it increasingly losing value. Since June, the currency has lost about 40% of its value to trade at US$1:ZWL$8,94.
In his lawsuit against Ncube, Harare lawyer and businessman Tawanda Nyambirai last week said the law, plus SI 33 of 2019 that introduced the RTGS dollar (now Zimbabwe dollar), eroded the values of people’s monies.
Ncube said government was working on a cushioning allowance for civil servants and on reviewing upwards the tax monthly threshold from its current ZWL$350.
“You want to benchmark the salary against the basket of currencies. So what are we doing about that? We are going to have a cushioning allowance and here I encourage business to follow suit and cushion their employees. We have not concluded (discussions), but we are working on it,” Ncube said.
“We are going to also increase the threshold on taxation as well to give further relief. That is what we are assimilating right now, but I think it will be a visible increase.
“SI 142 is very clear. It is also legal and binding and you are complying. I don’t think, going forward, we have any big macro policy to make. I think we have done enough for now and covered a lot of ground. There is really no need to bring any policies going forward.”