by Tichaona Chifamba
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- There have
been mixed feelings over the imposition of a law on June 24
which banned the use of foreign currencies as legal tender in
Zimbabwe and the re-introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar (now
Some locals fear that some basic goods will soon disappear
from the shelves of retail shops, while others have welcomed the
move saying that it will contain runaway prices caused by
continued use of the United States dollar as a parallel unit of
The country had abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009 amid
hyper-inflation, and the currency was officially demonetized in
Statutory Instrument 142 (SI 142) of 2019, otherwise known as
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (Legal Tender) Regulations, 2019,
rattled the economy in the past week to such an extent that the
U.S. dollar parallel market fell from a high of 1:16 RTGS
dollars to as low as 1:7 RTGS dollars, prompting panicky
citizens to quickly dispose of their greenbacks at low rates.
Individuals earning their salaries in foreign currency can
still withdraw it but must first change it into local currency
before making any transactions.
The government has since warned that it is now a criminal
offence for storekeepers to price their goods in U.S. dollars or
any other foreign currency, and for anyone to use foreign
currency rather than Zimbabwe dollars in any transaction carried
out in the country.
Apart from the U.S. dollar, other currencies that were banned
were British Pound, Euro, Australian dollar, Chinese Yuan,
Japanese Yen, Indian Rupee, South African Rand and the Botswana
One of the reasons why the government decided to impose the
foreign currency ban was that some retailers and suppliers had
begun pegging their prices mainly in U.S. dollars yet the
majority of Zimbabweans earn their salaries in local currency.
The pegging of prices in U.S. dollars had also resulted in
prices of basic commodities rising every week, which had led to
discontent among lowly paid government workers and many others
in the private sector.
Prices of some commodities—except bread, meat (beef, pork and
chicken) and milk - have been falling since the imposition of
the new policy and also amid fears of reprisal following a stern
warning from President Emmerson Mnangagwa that those who
continued to increase prices would be punished.
Some imported goods such as potato crisps have since
disappeared from the shelves as they can no longer be replaced
using local currency.
Leading retail chain OK Zimbabwe Limited welcomed the new law
saying that it would stabilize prices which had continued to
rise as they chased the (parallel) exchange rate movement.
"We welcome the new SI 142, which we believe will stabilize
prices and allow us to deliver the good prices and value you
have always expected and enjoyed from us.
"We have always received good support from our supplier
"Accordingly, we have engaged them and some have started to
moderate prices in response to SI 142," the retail chain said in
a statement Friday.
A manager with another leading retail chain said that
suppliers had promised to start reviewing their prices downwards
in the coming week after disposing of goods they had acquired
using the previous parallel rate regime.
Other retailers under the banner of the Confederation of
Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) have welcomed the government
pronouncement, adding that they also support measures taken by
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to stabilize the interbank
foreign currency market.
"The pricing distortions arising from the inflated and stage
managed parallel market had left most Zimbabweans reeling and on
the brink of total poverty as incomes ,wages and salaries were
eroded daily by the fictitious and fallacious black market
"The dilemma was exacerbated by the demand for U.S. dollars
for domestic transactions even for goods ordinarily manufactured
in Zimbabwe yet about 96 percent of the workforce earn their
wages and salaries in local currency.
"Many had to offload the RTGS dollars or bond notes as soon
as they laid their hands on it," said CZR president Denford
Mutashu in a statement.
Opposition party MDC secretary for policy and research Tapiwa
Mashakada however said the banning of foreign currency as legal
tender was a panic move by the government.
"To have domestic currency, there must be productivity and
re-industrialization; at least six months forex reserves; there
must be confidence; you must be a net exporter; (and) you must
give notice to public," he said.
He added that he foresaw the market rejecting the Zimbabwe
dollar (RTGS dollar) and continuing to use the U.S. dollar.
Incidentally, the use of the U.S. dollar is continuing
unabated in the informal sector, while some customers also opt
to use the U.S. dollar as opposed to local currency.
Mutashu warned against the uncontrolled printing of money as
had happened during the hyper-inflationary period.
"The CZR further urges the RBZ to exercise restraint and
prudence with the printing machine to safeguard the value of the
Zimbabwe dollar while the Ministry of Finance should desist from
inconsistent policy pronouncements that have dented trust and
confidence in the past.
"Further measures should be a product of continued
consultations and engagement while the inclusive approach is
encouraged forthwith," he said.
He said the introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar would further
improve competitiveness and efforts should be made to ensure
that the importation of essential raw materials, capital goods,
drugs and medicines, fuel and energy, is not impeded by the
Ordinary people are still to ascertain the long term impact
of the new policy.
Hastings Muchirahondo, an officer work in a company in Harare
said he would welcome the move as long as prices remained steady
and basic goods were available.
"There is no point making a policy under which we will all go
hungry because there are no goods in the shelves.
"Not all of us can afford to travel across the borders to
South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique to buy basic goods as was
the case in 2008 up to 2009," he said.
Another Harare resident, Tonderai Masango, said it was time a
new currency was introduced "to do away with the U.S. dollar"
which was causing suffering among ordinary people as they were
being forced to buy it before making purchases in some stores.
commend Chinese tile
manufacturer for boosting exports receipts
by Tichaona Chifamba HARARE Zimbabwe
(Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwe government
has commended work being done by a Norton-based Chinese tile
manufacturer which has already started exporting most of its
The firm, Sunny Yi Feng, started making tiles on May 12 and
is producing between 30,000 and 35,000 square meters of tiles
per day, 70 percent of which are exported to several countries
in the Southern Africa Development Community region.
Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services
Monica Mutsvangwa and her counterparts Nqobizitha Mangaliso
Ndlovu ( minister for industry and commerce) and Ziyambi Ziyambi
(minister for justice, legal and parliamentary affairs) toured
the tile manufacturing plant Wednesday and praised Sunny Yi Feng
for a job well-done.
The company, which began putting up structures at its Norton
premises toward the end of 2018, now operates three factories
that make tiles, print cardboard boxes for packaging the tiles
and logistical support, covering up to 75 percent of its
capacity and expected to reach full production soon.
"In three months (they started manufacturing), they have
started producing for export and it’s just wonderful to see
products going to South Africa, to Zambia and that product is
coming from Zimbabwe," said Mutsvangwa.
"That is a good response to our president’s call that
‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business.’" she said.
"This is the kind of investment that we need that has
downstream benefits for our people."
"I am also happy that we have seen our young women, our young
mothers being employed and I am happy that they can now look
after their children and after their families," Mutsvangwa said.
She commended the longstanding relations between China and
Zimbabwe, which she said dated back to the days of the
"China has contributed a lot to the development of Zimbabwe
including the construction of the National Sports Stadium,
Kariba South Power Station, the Victoria Falls International
Airport and expansion of Hwange 7 and 8, and even our new
Parliament building," Mutsvangwa said.
Sunny Yi Feng vice managing director William Gung said the
firm has invested 50 million U.S. dollars for the first line of
"In the first line of production, we produce between 30,000
and 35,000 square meters of tiles per day and we export 70
percent of that to South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and
The company will also produce fertilizers from coal and other
byproducts from its operations, Gung said, adding that the firm
also plans to construct accommodation for its workers.
"Now we are trying to get some more land from the government
so that we can build house for the workers here at the factory,"
body investigating 10 high-profile corruption cases
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC)
said Thursday it is investigating 10 high-profile cases of
corruption out of 38 cases it has received since May.
Newly appointed ZACC chairperson Loice Matanda-Moyo told a
press conference that corruption was the main cause of economic
challenges in Zimbabwe, and vowed the anti-corruption body would
work tirelessly to tackle the vice.
Matanda-Moyo said ZACC had opened investigations into
government ministries, departments, and parastatals that were
cited in the recent Auditor General’s report for abusing public
Some of the parastatals named include power utility ZESA,
state grain procurer Grain Marketing Board, national airline Air
Zimbabwe and state pension fund National Social Security
"ZACC has opened active investigations in respect of all
ministries, government departments, state enterprises and
parastatals implicated in the report with a view to bringing to
book all those implicated in any or all cases of corruption,
theft, misappropriation, abuses of power and other improper
conduct," said Matanda-Moyo.
She urged the Executive to reduce the powers of ministries
over state enterprises and parastatals, saying such ministries
had become a cause for concern.
"The government needs to urgently review the powers of
ministries over state enterprises and parastatals under the
purview to stem out this culture of looting," she said.
Matanda-Moyo said her organization will target 99 percent
conviction rate for all corruption cases in the courts.
ZACC is a Constitutional body mandated with combating
corruption as well as encouraging transparency, honesty and
financial discipline in both the public and private sectors.
She said if ZACC was to deal with every matter reported, then
the country’s prisons will need to be expanded in order to
accommodate the culprits.
"While other countries are closing their prisons for lack of
clients, Zimbabwe prisons will be open for business," she said.
To support public efforts in the fight against graft,
Matanda-Moyo said recommendations had been forwarded to the
Executive for a comprehensive whistleblower protection
The ZACC chairperson also lauded the recent move to give the
body arresting powers, saying this was necessary to ensure the
body plays its role without limitations.
Zimbabwe government to
revive food for work
program to alleviate effects of drought
by Tichaona Chifamba HARARE (Xinhua)
-- The Zimbabwe government will
re-introduce a food for work program to help vulnerable families
which have been affected by the El Nino induced drought during
the 2018/19 agricultural season, a top official has said.
The United Nations says more than 6 million Zimbabweans (or
nearly 40 percent of the population) require food aid between
now and the next harvest in April 2020 due to the drought and
the impact of Cyclone Idai which hit the country, together with
Mozambique and Malawi in March.
The Herald newspaper reported Wednesday that Public Service,
Labor and Social Welfare Deputy Minister Lovemore Matuke had
told a ruling ZANU-PF party meeting in Masvingo that the
government had completed a document which outlined modalities on
the implementation of the Food for Work program under which
beneficiaries get food packs after working on identified
The last food for work program was undertaken in 2016
following another serious drought in the country. Generally,
priority is placed on projects that achieve food security.
The incapacitated still receive food under the government’s
drought relief program.
Matuke said the government had finalized the document which
has already been sent to all the country’s provinces, adding
that the program should be designed in a manner that promotes
productivity, particularly irrigation, to ensure the country is
self-sufficient in terms of food requirements.
"We need projects which have significant social economic
impact," he said.
"We need our people to provide labor on projects such as
irrigation schemes, projects that help the country achieve food
security rather than working on projects that have little or no
impact on the economy.
"They should be well-designed to ensure the objectives of
Vision 2030 are achieved." he said.
He said while the government had put in place some measures
and resources to alleviate food shortages in light of the
El-Nino induced drought, efforts must be equally put in place to
harness domestic resources to build self-food sufficiency.
Zimbabwe police warn
businesses to stop charging in forex
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Zimbabwean police on Wednesday warned businesses
against charging in foreign currency following the ban on use of
the U.S. dollar for trading purposes.
The government last week scrapped the multi-currency system
and made the Zimbabwe dollar the sole legal tender. The local
currency is comprised of the electronic RTGS dollar, bond notes
and bond coins.
In a statement, police said despite the law banning use of
foreign currencies, some businesses had continued to sell their
goods and services in hard currency.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson Paul Nyathi urged
members of the public to report those still charging in forex.
"The ZRP warns all those who are charging commodities in
United States dollars that they risk being arrested as the law
will be applied without fear or favor," Nyathi said.
He implored supermarkets and shops to display commodity
prices in order to allow members of the public to access goods
and services in an environment which gives them room to plan,
coordinate and buy the items freely without any form of
manipulation by unscrupulous dealers.
Some businesses and shops have not been displaying prices of
goods since the ban on the U.S. dollar, thereby causing
uncertainty on buyers.
Zimbabwe is currently grappling with a shortage of foreign
currency that has caused shortages of essentials such as fuel,
medical drugs, power and bread.
China extends U.S. $60
million dollars grant
to Zimbabwe for cyclone relief efforts
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
China has extended a 60 million U.S.
dollars grant to Zimbabwe for reconstruction after the
devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in the eastern part of the
country in March, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said
She told a post-cabinet media briefing that Zimbabwe was
grateful for the grant, which comes after the Asian country in
March donated 800,000 U.S. dollars cash as emergency
humanitarian assistance to victims of the cyclone.
China has also extended an offer to help Zimbabwe rebuild
infrastructure in Chimanimani, where most roads, bridges,
schools and clinics were destroyed by the cyclone which killed
more than 300 people and displaced thousands.
profound, not to be affected by slander: Embassy
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
The Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe says it is highly
concerned over some absurd remarks by individuals that seek to
undermine China-Zimbabwe cooperation, saying such slander will
not hurt the profound bilateral ties.
The Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe issued a statement late
Sunday, expressing concern over comments by Norton legislator
Temba Mliswa over China-Zimbabwe relations and suggestions that
cooperation between the two parties only benefit China.
The statement refuted such allegations by providing examples
which showed that bilateral cooperation has benefited Zimbabwe.
It said that China in recent years has provided financing
support to quite many projects that have been playing an
important role in improving infrastructure and self-sustaining
capacity for the economic and social development of Zimbabwe.
Such projects include the Victoria Falls Airport Expansion
Project, the (Robert Gabriel) Mugabe International Airport
Expansion Project, the Kariba South Hydro-power Station
Expansion Project, the Hwange Power Station Expansion Project,
among others, it said.
It added that just a few days ago, China decided to provide a
grant of 400 million yuan (58 million US dollars) to Zimbabwe to
help the country complete post-cyclone reconstruction and other
The embassy statement said it is highly unfair, and
"logically absurd" to simply blame China for the economic
difficulties Zimbabwe is currently facing.
"It is universally recognized that whether a country can get
rid of poverty and achieve sustainable development mainly relies
on its own efforts," the statement said.
The embassy added that the New Parliament Project was a
project financed by the grant from the Chinese government and
did not have any attached project.
"This project is a manifestation of the profound friendship
between the two governments and the peoples of China and
Zimbabwe and brooks no one’s smear or distortion," the statement
"The Chinese government, in accordance with the laws and
regulations, protects the legitimate rights and interests of
overseas Chinese enterprises and citizens.
"And at the same time, the government always requires them to
abide by the laws and regulations of the host countries and
respect local customs," the statement said.
"China and Zimbabwe enjoy a profound traditional friendship.
"The two sides have always rendered each other strong support
on issues concerning each other’s core interests.
China-Zimbabwe relations will not be affected by slander or
vilifying by any individual." it said.
Victoria Falls maintains
status on UNESCO world heritage list
LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) --
Victoria Falls has maintained its status to be on
the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO) world heritage list after undergoing
examinations, a senior government official said on Thursday.
The State of the Conservation of the Victoria Falls, was
brought before the World Heritage Committee to be examined at
the on-going 43rd Session of the World Heritage Committee in
Zambia and Zimbabwe submitted a report to the World Heritage
Center which studied the file to decide whether the state
parties had put in place adequate mechanisms to safeguard the
Christine Kaseba-Sata, Zambia’s Ambassador to France and
Permanent Representative to UNESCO, thanked the country’s
National Heritage Commission and communities around the Victoria
Falls for their relentless efforts in upholding statutes and
guidelines as prescribed by the World heritage Convention.
"It is not guaranteed that once a property has been enlisted
on the World Heritage List it cannot be deregistered.
Management of the site requires concerted efforts by
government and stakeholders so as to ensure that the property is
preserved and not added to the Danger List," she said, according
to a release.
The Victoria Falls is located on the Zambezi River at the
border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, is the countries’ biggest
tourist attraction site.
The World Heritage Committee is the secretariat for the
UNESCO World Heritage center and is responsible for the listing
and delisting of World Heritage Sites.
The committee meets annually to review and examine state of
conservation reports, nomination dossiers and gives policy
direction on the implementation of the World Heritage Convention
in the Sites.
Currently, they are 1,092 Sites inscribed on the World
Heritage list, according to the release.