Refusing to accept the Zim dollar and bond notes as payment for goods has landed 102 Zimbabwean business owners and retail employees in trouble, with 28 of these appearing in court as the government enforces acceptance of the fast-falling local unit amid increased dollarisation of the economy.
As Zimbabwe’s economy re-dollarises, some retail outlets are no-longer accepting payment for goods and services in the form of bond notes.
However, John Mangudya, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, has reiterated that Zim dollar and bond notes and coins “are still legal tender”.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) now enforcing the Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Anti Money Laundering Act to enforce usage of the local currency.
“Traders and business entities who continue to refuse to accept Zimbabwe currency bond notes and coins as a legal tender in business transactions risk being arrested and taken to court for the law to take its course,” said the ZRP in a statement on Wednesday.
Retail operators and employees of retail outlets in Harare are appearing in court charged with violating the Bank Use and Promotion Act through side-lining the local currency as a medium of exchange.
According to police authorities in Zimbabwe: “A total of 102 suspects have been arrested with 28 appearing in court in Harare” since the onset of a blitz code named “Accept Zimbabwe currency” as legal tender on June 26.
President Emerson Mnangagwa’s administration in Harare is battling to restore confidence in the local unit of exchange which has continued to lose value, with the official and street rates ballooning.
Local currency rejected
Bigger retailers such as OK Zimbabwe and Pick n Pay, however, are still accepting the local units of exchange.
Denford Mutashu, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries told Fin24 that retailers have to accept the Zim dollar and bond notes to smoothen transactions and payment for goods and services.
Employees under the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the civil servants representative union, Apex Council, have been calling for remuneration in foreign currency.
The Apex Council said after a meeting of its top leadership on Wednesday that “the local currency has been rejected by the economy” hence it was calling on the government to reset salaries for government workers at US$475 for the lowest paid.
This comes as The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) noted in a new report today that “most goods and services in Zimbabwe are increasingly being priced in USD” which is “further constraining access to market foods as many poor households do not have access” to US dollars.
“Anecdotal information indicates bond notes and coins are increasingly being rejected across some markets,” says the FEWSNET report.
It adds: “Economic volatility and depreciating parallel market exchange rates are progressively constraining livelihoods and disposable incomes.”