Three tier pricing: Be warned

by Zivanai Dhewa

Following an outcry by the public over the three tier pricing system that has become the order of the day, Government has warned that such activities should stop or the law will take its course.

Speaking yesterday during a press briefing, the Attorney General Prince Machaya, recapped the provisions of the law regarding the multi-currency set up in Zimbabwe.

“At the beginning of this year, the Finance Act of 01 of 2018 was passed. It amended a variety of acts, one of which was Bank Use Promotion Act which was amended in a number of different ways in different Sections. One of those Sections is Section 10(a) which reinforces the idea that the money we use in Zimbabwe although in different forms is at par with the United States Dollar.

“Therefore, there is no trader of anybody who receives payment who should decline one form of payment over another,” said the Attorney General.

Further articulating the Act, AG Machaya said, “Every designated payee (somebody who receives payment) shall, if a person tenders payment for its goods and services by electronic means instead of cash or partly by cash or partly by electronic means accept the tender of such payments.”

AG Machaya said that “cash is defined widely to include US dollar, Bond Notes issues in terms of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act, therefore no designated payee shall charge or apply a premium or discount to the price of its goods and services on the basis that the person has paid its goods and services by cash or electronic means instead of cash or partly by electronic means.”

Giving a stern warning to such service providers and retailers who continue to profiteer at the expense of the suffering population, AG Machaya, reiterated that, “Legislation makes it very clear that people who are trading cannot decline any one payment over another.”

He added that, “Legislation reinforces Government insistence that the modes of payment in this country are at par and refusing to accept payment constitutes an offence under the Act.”

At the same press conference, Professor Mthuli Ncube, bemoaned the price increase and spirit of hoarding that has engulfed the citizens of this country resulting in artificial shortages.

“There is a hike in prices driven by hoarding, speculative behaviour and trading on the parallel market so the proper way to deal with it is to ensure that those with free funds and offshore markets are able to import the list of items pronounced, that will force supply to increase and push the prices down as we approach the festive season,” said Prof Ncube.

Steps taken by Government will ensure that people get relief from doctors, pharmacies and other retail outlets that were taking advantage of the shortages.