D-Day for businesses using the parallel market exchange rate

Staff Reporter

The Government, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), is embarking on a blitz to ensure that manufacturers and retailers implement Statutory Instrument 18A (SI18A) of 2022 in the pricing of their products.

SI18A makes it illegal for businesses to use the parallel market exchange rate in the pricing of commodities and services, thus part of efforts to term inflation.

This publication managed to interview a number of citizens who have welcomed the Government blitz to penalise businesses that continue to use parallel market exchange rate, which is inclined towards profiteering.

“The move by Government is welcome. We need our money to retain its buying power, but that cannot happen if the prices continue to be pegged at the parallel market exchange rate.

“I failed to buy 2kgs of rice as it was going for ZW$4500 and cooking oil was at ZW$4000. The country will be full of malnourished people if this is not addressed,” said Davis Marapara, a shopper at one of the retail outlets.

A source within the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) who preferred anonymity, agreed that some of the prices were pegged at the parallel market rate, but said they had approached Government over the issue.

“Yes we wrote a letter to the President (Mnangagwa) asking him to intervene on our behalf through dialogue between GMAZ and Government before FIU can come and assess compliance to SI18A.

“GMAZ does not condone the use of the black market in pricing as it will affect aggregate pricing.  At the same time if this blitz is done abruptly, it might cause suppliers to withdraw stocks resulting in shortages of basic commodities,” said the source.

Prices of basic commodities have hiked in recent months causing a negative effect on the buying power of consumers.  Meanwhile, the FIU seeks to ensure the full implementation of SI81A of 2022 that makes it illegal for businesses to use the parallel market.