Zimbabweans have turned their backs on the local currency bond notes and most are now rejecting the $2 and $5 written Bond notes on them. Shops in Mbare, Highfield, Epworth, and Hatfield are reportedly refusing to accept payments in the local currency, a move that has left some customers stranded.
The deepening economic crisis characterized by hyperinflation has seen a surge in the prices of basic commodities countrywide. The prices increases have been attributed to the plummeting of the ZWL against the US Dollar. Currently, the local currency is trading at 1usd: 88ZWL on the parallel market.
The government’s decision to ban the use of the multi-currency regime and make the Zimbabwean dollar the sole legal tender through Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019 in June last year is probably the most damaging policy. It has resulted in quickening inflation which has not only decimated incomes and pensions but has also crippled companies that have incurred huge losses as a result.
The local unit’s loss of value unit has resulted in prices of basic commodities skyrocketing at a time the incomes of most workers have been ravaged by inflation. The increase in prices has shredded the moratorium on the cost of basic commodities put in place by the government in March this year with Industry minister Sekai Nzenza admitting failure to contain the prices.
According to Habakkuk Trust Community Advocacy Action Teams in Matabeleland Province indicate that a significant number of shops are refusing to transact in local currency. Shop owners at Mawabeni Business Centre in Umzingwane Ward 5 are allegedly refusing to take the ZWL, accepting the Rand and USD for transactions. Habakkuk Trust Community Advocacy Action Teams in the area have raised concerns over the issue. “This a worrying development especially considering that we are still on lockdown and most people are not working,” said one of the Habakkuk Trust Action Team members in the area.
Meanwhile, in Matobo Ward 19, shop owners are reportedly charging exorbitant prices to deter consumers from paying in local currency.
The Government’s inconsistency in the implementation of monetary measures coupled with placid enforcement efforts has been blamed for illicit trading practices prevalent in the retail sector. According to analysts, the move by Government to permit service stations to sell fuel in the forex will accelerate the re-dollarisation of the Zimbabwean economy.