ZIMBABWE President Emmerson Mnangagwa has defended the latest economic move in the country with the ban on use of foreign currencies as announced by the finance minister on Monday.
According to him, the measure was a sign that the country was reverting to normalcy after what he said was a state of abnormality – referring to the multi-currency regime of the last few years.
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday at Victoria Falls, Mnangagwa said the government deserved praise instead of criticism and skepticism. ‘Zimbabwe has gone back to normalcy.
‘The normalcy is, a country must have its own currency, that’s normalcy. We were living in an abnormal situation and you should be the first to congratulate us for becoming normal again.
‘We had a basket of currencies, we have removed them and our current currency is denominated either by the coins, the bond notes or the RTGS, all that is domestic.’
He clarified the status of foreign currencies saying: ‘It still allows you to do international transactions with the economy but we have not banned the possession of any other currency.
‘Except that if you want to transact in any shop, if you want to buy your tea and milk in dollar or euro, then you must go to bureau du change.’
The central bank announced that starting June 24 all foreign currency trading in the country had been forbidden and directed that the medium of exchange to be the Zimbabwean dollar.
Zimbabwe has been stuck in an endless financial crisis for two decades highlighted by falling currency, high inflation, widespread unemployment and lack of liquidity. The southern African country abandoned its currency in 2009
Zimbabweans have been relying on electronic payments, the South African Rand, the US dollar and in some instances barter trade to do business and to pay for goods and services
President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to revive the economy after taking office in late 2017. It remains to be seen the reaction of citizens and the business community to the latest order.
In the past, people had insisted on dollar payment for goods and services, something the government moved to rein in. Shortages hit major businesses because of the lack of dollars for importation of essential goods.