Legislators scale up dollarisation campaign

Charles Moyo

PARLIAMENTARIANS have made a fresh call for the scrapping of the weakening local currency in favour of dollarisation.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Pelandaba–Mpopoma legislator Charles Moyo (MDC Alliance) said budgeting had become a nightmare because of the volatility of the local currency.

 “In 2022, we had a budget of $1,9 trillion in total and for 2023 we have a budget proposal of $4,5 trillion, with these trillion dollars, no one will say this budget is people-centered. With these trillions, surely it means the incapacitation of our citizens, civil servants, Members of Parliament (MPs) and Zimbabweans in general,”Moyo said.

“Since 2019, I have been saying that Finance minister (Mthuli Ncube) must simply dollarise. The reality is that people are using the United States dollar and some are using the South African rand. Even government itself is using United States dollars, why not simply dollarise and see how our economy will perform?” he said.

Mberengwa East MP, Marko Raidza (Zanu PF) said: “The first issue is about the budget credibility. This issue needs the Finance minister to critically look into it. We spend more time in this august House discussing this issue, putting our views with the hope that the way the money is utilised within the country, things can move properly.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa reintroduced the Zimbabwe dollar in 2019 after a decade of dollarisation.

The local currency has been fast losing value against the greenback,  forcing some companies to price their goods and services exclusively in foreign currency, mainly the United States dollar to hedge against losses.

Civil servants are also pushing for United States dollar salaries amid increasing calls for dollarisation, but the Finance minister has stuck to his guns arguing that redollarising the economy could be catastrophic for the country.

Norton legislator Temba Mliswa (Independent) said: ‘Between January and November 2022, the Zimbabwe dollar lost at least 75% of its value on the black market, leading to an unbearable monthly inflation averaging 12% per month and nothing was being done to address this so that there is disposable income which makes people live.”

“Basic needs cannot be purchased as a result of this inflation, the government did nothing and had no mitigating measures to deal with that, which is cause for concern.”

On Thursday during a heated debate on the 2023 national budget, legislators ramped up calls for dollarisation.

Dzivarasekwa legislator Edwin Mushoriwa (CCC) said: “You are aware that one of the major challenges we face in this country is that a huge population is using US dollar and the local currency is limited to those who get their salaries in RTGS like civil servants. The majority are using the US dollar.”

Harare East legislator Tendai Biti (CCC) said Ncube should have presented a US dollar budget in conformity with the reality on the ground.

“In an economy that is dollarised to the extent that 72% of the transaction is being done in US dollar, the budget could have been expressed in the US dollar,” Biti said.

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