Gvt calls departments charging for services in US dollars to order

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By Tonderai Saharo 

IN yet another sign of the lack of policy clarity within President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration, treasury has been forced to issue an order stopping various ministries from charging foreign currency for rates and services.

Government has rejected calls to dollarise the economy but it has emerged several departments had resorted to charging for rates and services in US dollars.

“Treasury has not approved any changes to the prevailing level of fees and payment modalities, thus government fees charges and levies remain at the approved RTGs dollars that were formally communicated to each ministry department or agency,” a statement from the Ministry of Finance said Friday.

The call by the ministry comes barely a day after the ailing National Railways of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of lands had issued statements indicating that due to fluctuations in the local currency the two institutions were now charging clients in US dollars.

Treasury said government is committed to providing goods and services, that are affordable and accessible to the general public. This despite the business community reviewing prices of goods and services constantly in line with currency movements.

“Section (78) (1)(r) of the public finance management act (CAP 22.19) empowers treasury to prescribe or issue instructions or directions to ministries whether individually or collectively , concerning the determination of any scales of fees, other charges or rates relating to revenue accruing to the consolidated fund.

“Notwithstanding, the current trends where service providers, are unilaterally reviewing prices of goods and services. Government is committed to the provision of services at cost recovery levels cognisant of the need to ensure affordability and accessibility to the general public,” reads the statement.

Zimbabwe’s local currency effectively introduced as an official medium of exchange in February has been losing its value at an alarming rate trigging a sharp increase in prices of basic commodities across the economy.