ON Wednesday, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told Parliament that government had no immediate plans to abandon the local currency, crashing civil servants’ hopes of having their salaries paid in the more stable United States dollar.
“Government has no desire to abandon the Zimdollar,” Ziyambi declared, to which Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure asked if the minister was aware that shops preferred the greenback to the Zimdollar and that it would be more logical to just dollarise for the benefit of the entire nation.
In response, Ziyambi emphatically said: “Let me repeat, government has no plans to abandon use of the Zimdollar and we are working to ensure it is the sole trading currency.” And, indeed, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube made similar indications when he presented the mid-term 2020 budget review statement on Thursday.
It is puzzling how the government is burying its head in the sand, refusing to accept the reality on the ground. Maybe government thinks that by awarding its restive employees a US$75 COVID-19 cushioning allowance, which is not even given as hard currency, that should suffice.
This ignores the fundamental fact that everyone is living in a hyperinflationary environment driven by a depreciating Zimdollar.
Funny enough, even the bureaucrats themselves know that the Zimbabwe dollar no longer holds value, hence the move by other government departments to demand US$ for their services.
A case in point is Statutory Instrument 161 of 2020, where government demands that all vehicle number plates be paid for in US$, and the fact that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has ordered all shops to adopt the two-tier pricing system.
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Another curious thing about President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is its mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business”. How on earth can the country be said to be open for business when it bans trade on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange for days on end?
The happenings on the political, business and economic front could be an indication that the wheels are coming off quickly.