CHIVI South legislator Killer Zivhu has raised alarm that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) plan to re-introduce bureau de changes will encourage parallel market activities and take the country back to the 2008 era.
Zivhu said the system would fail considering that there were high levels of corruption in the country because some bureau de changes would most likely buy the money and trade it on the black market for quick returns.
“Some bureau de changes will buy the money for themselves or use their relatives to take money to the black market where it will fetch more. Bureau de changes are just forex dealers so where there is money, they are always there,” he said.
RBZ governor John Mangudya last week announced a new monetary policy that allows banks to trade United States dollars with real time gross settlement dollars, through an intermediate bank.
According to the monetary policy, bureau de changes would change a maximum of US$10 000 per day.
Zivhu said the daily limit was not sufficient for cross-border traders, considering the high unemployment rate in the country, which has forced many into the informal market for survival.
“More than two million Zimbabweans are not formally employed, hence they survive on buying and selling. Civil servants and the working class also depend on buying and selling of goods; they also sustain their salaries through cross-border business, which increases the number of people trading.
“We have bureau de changes changing US$10 000 per day, as a result these people will not be able to get money at the bank rate because they do not qualify to measures put in place for the banks. Their only option will be getting forex on the streets, thereby increasing the demand on black market,” said Zivhu, who is also the Zimbabwe Cross-Border Traders’ Association (ZCBTA) chairperson.
He said the re-introduction of bureau de changes does not help Zimbabwe’s economic malaise, but fuels the cash crisis and the parallel market as there is no adequate foreign currency.
“As ZCBTA, the monetary policy is not favourable to our members. We are seeing a repeat of 2007 and 2008, if the RBZ governor does not listen to our advice. We had similar problems in 2003 as well when there were cash shortages and also in 2007 and 2008 when they refused to listen to our advice,” he said.
The ZCBTA chairperson said there should be packages for cross-border traders, whereby they would buy forex in banks using mastercards and prepaid visa cards to avoid the handling of cash to reduce parallel market activities.