‘Multi-currency ban a nullity’ – Biti

Ex-Finance Minister and DPP leader Tendai Biti

Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti said that Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019, which re-introduced the Zimbabwean Dollar and scrapped the multi-currency system, is illegal and a disaster to the country.

Biti was speaking in Parliament on Tuesday after a ZANU MP had lauded Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube for bringing back the Zimbabwean Dollar. He said:

The SI 142 (2019) touches on our political economy, the economy of our country and the laws of our country.

Section 44(2) of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act, which introduced the multi-currency regime in 2009, makes it clear that the British pound, euro, South African rand and Botswana pula shall be legal tender, and section 44(a)(2) — it is an Act of Parliament means that the Finance minister cannot repeal that provision.

Quite clearly, SI 142 (2019) is ultra vires the provisions of section 44(a)(2) of the RBZ Act and it is wrong at law and on the economy.

As long as there is a deficit in your current account, I submit that we do not have a current account and reserves necessary to support our own currency.

A currency is a subject of political confidence and in this country, as far as I am concerned, there is kwashiorkor of political confidence and, therefore, I submit that SI 142 is a disaster.

However, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi scoffed at Biti’s remarks saying that it was premature to say that SI 142 was a legal nullity. Said Ziyambi:

I would like to make a correction that all statutory instruments stand deferred to Parliament, which will scrutinise them through the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC).

If the PLC feels there is something wrong with the SI, they will issue an adverse report and then Parliament will debate it.

I am surprised because MPs are very much aware of the process and they want to debate it. An SI takes effect the moment it is published and I submit that it is very premature to start attacking it before it is scrutinised by the PLC.

More: Newsday