Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday convened an interactive meeting involving fiscal and monetary authorities and female church leaders over the recently introduced Statutory Instrument 142, with a view to finding ways on how stakeholders can explain the instrument in a manner that benefits the public.
Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019, effectively ended the multi-currency system and determined the “Zimbabwe dollar” as the sole legal trading currency in the country.
The meeting held at Zimbabwe House in Harare was attended by Finance and Economic Development Minister Prof Mthuli Ncube, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya, Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Dr Mavis Sibanda and ZIMRA Commissioner-General Ms Faith Mazani.
Stakeholders took the opportunity to explain salient issues contained in the instrument.
Prof Ncube and Dr Mangudya also explained strategies to be implemented in support of new measures introduced under Statutory Instrument 142.
Addressing the gathering, Amai Mnangagwa said she invited the experts to impart knowledge to the church leaders on SI 142 so that they disseminate the information to their congregants, communities and the nation at large.
“This is a knowledge sharing gathering, the main reason why you are here today is to receive the appropriate information on the implementation of SI 142 of 2019,” she said.
Minister Ncube took time to explain to the gathering what SI 142 was all about.
“SI 142 is an instrument introduced by the Government which declared that the sole currency for use within the Zimbabwe borders is the Zimbabwe dollar and eliminated multi-currency,” he said
“This local currency is in the form of bond notes, coins and the RTGS dollar which is electronic money. Electronic version extends to EcoCash and other versions of mobile banking services and that is the essence of SI 142.
“You are allowed to keep your foreign currency in your pockets because it’s your money, but if you go to the shops change it to local currency.
“We introduced the mono currency because we realised that something was going wrong, people were demanding foreign currency yet we are in shortage of it.
“Using the US dollar did not solve our foreign currency shortage, but it caused further problems.”
He said a country cannot develop without its own currency, saying Zimbabwe needed to be like other countries using their own currencies.
Prof Ncube added that the use of forex left the country vulnerable to sanctions.
“There were certain banks that were told to stop supplying US dollars to Zimbabwe because certain transactions would involve entities in Zimbabwe that are under sanctions.
“CBZ was fined US$350 million for doing some transactions where they thought they were helping and we are still negotiating a way out of that liability.
“Therefore the more we used US dollar, the more we expose the transactors and businesses to fines,” he said.
The minister also said the timing of the introduction of SI 142 was perfect adding that people should not compare the new era with the 2008 era.
He said by using multi-currency, the country was now creating a two-tier society.
“We now have our own currency and the Government is living within its means and once you are able to do so as Government, then you are ready to manage your domestic currency,” he said.
“Previously we were not living within our means, we were literally printing money and we don’t have to print money we only print what is necessary not excessively.
“This is not 2008, it’s a new era which will take us to Vision 2030. The timing was not sudden, it has been a journey,” he said.
Dr Mangudya also addressed the gathering and urged the public to use the legal channels to change their forex.
“We are on a transition to normalcy and let us make sure that transition is short and let us grow confidence. I can assure you that SI 142 will succeed,” he said.
“The introduction of SI 142 is to rebuild the walls of Zimbabwe and instead of using black market to change forex, open the bureau de change. It’s actually a short process to open. Let us shun illegal forex dealing. Black market won’t take us forward.”
The Governor urged the public to utilise land and the resources the country has for the benefit and development of the country.
He said there was need to increase production urging women in farming to grow more soya bean, cotton, wheat, sunflower among other things so as to import less and save forex for necessities.
Dr Mavis Sibanda and Ms Faith Mazani also educated the female church leaders on various issues.
Dr Sibanda said the introduction of SI 142 brought normalcy in the country adding that it has been embraced by commerce and industry.
She also urged the women to supply raw materials to the industry thereby reducing the need to use foreign currency in importing from outside.
The female church leaders took turns to ask questions seeking clarity on certain issues. They thanked Amai Mnangagwa for affording them an opportunity to learn more on issues that concern the nation and pledged to spread the correct information on SI 142.