Retailers rip off consumers

THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) has accused several retail outlets in Bulawayo of violating exchange rate regulations and legal requirements compelling them to display prices of goods in both local and foreign currencies.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Government in July gazetted Statutory Instrument 185 of 2020, compelling service providers to display, quote and offer prices in both the Zimbabwe dollar and foreign currencies using the ruling exchange rate.

The last auction system exchange rate was US$1:$81,3.

A survey conducted by NewsDay Business in Bulawayo revealed that many shops were not complying with the regulations, with some pegging their exchange rate at US$1:$95, instead of US$1:$81,3.

The survey revealed that some shops were not accepting payment in the local currency.

In a statement, CZR president Denford Mutashu said many shops were not complying with the new regulations due to a shortage in fiscalised machines, while some are not compatible with the new regulations.

Mutashu said it was critical for the government to address systems and software compatibility.

He said improved availability of fiscalised machines remained critical.

“There is also a need to increase supplies of fiscalised machines. The current number remains few, while those supplying in some instances have failed to avail spare parts for the machines. There has also been a concern that the available fiscalised machines are also not compatible,” he said.

Mutashu urged retail outlets to comply with the legal requirements as well as transact using the exchange rate determined by the weekly foreign currency auction carried out by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

“The Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers wishes to remind retail sector players of the existence of legal requirements that compel them to comply with the newly-introduced foreign currency exchange rate system,” he said.

“It is CZR’s humble submission that business should support the forex auction system through responsible pricing and compliance. Prices should be pegged in both local and foreign currency with clear exchange rate boards displayed in each store.”

Mutashu added that the customer receipt should bear the currency in which a transaction has taken place.

He said they had been made aware of some “distortions currently happening in the market and it is critical that sector players adhere to the regulations set out by the government”.
The CZR boss said they had collected the sector’s views on the matter and were engaging the government to iron out the challenges.

“It is critical that sector members continue to comply with regulations while we engage government on the matter. CZR is therefore calling upon businesses to complement the government on policy co-ordination, implementation and compliance and government to do the same,” he said.

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