By Anna Chibamu and Audience Mutema
FORMER Finance Minister and legislator Tendai Biti has described the abandonment of the multi-currency system by government as a disaster while urging its reversal.
The MDC MP for Harare East was addressing fellow legislators in parliament Tuesday.
Government on Monday brewed a shocker and imposed a ban of the multi-currency regime through Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019 which restored the local currency as the sole legal tender.
Biti, who as Finance Minister 2009 oversaw the administering of the multi-currency regime, felt the scrapping of the system was both illegal and spelled disaster.
“I rise on a matter of privilege in terms of the enactment by the Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Statutory Instrument (SI) 142 2019 which officially de-dollarize and adopt as sole legal tender the Zimbabwean dollar,” Biti said.
“This is a matter of importance in that it touches on the politics, economics and law of the country, I want to go to the provision of Section 44 of the RBZ which introduced the regime currency in 2009 and section 44 (a) and 46 states that the tender in Zimbabwe is Euro, Pound, US$, Rand shall be deemed legal tender.
“A currency is a relation between imports and exports and as long as you have a deficit in your current account, and we do not have current account sir we do not have reserves that are necessary to support our local currency.
“The currency is subjected to political confidence and this country suffer from a Kwashiorkor of political confidence, so I submit the Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019 is a disaster that minister Ncube must repeal.”
However, Zanu PF Legislator for Bindura South Remigious Matangira was of a different view as he praised Ncube’s move.
Matangira said the country had no need continue using the currency of a country that imposed sanctions on their country.
“A country without a totem is totally lost, a country without currency is a country without roots.
“We must have our own currency. Why are you all against having our own currency hence insisting on using currency of a country that have imposed sanctions on our country and you wonder why some people are insisting to use multi-currency yet our people are suffering.
“In fact, I am in support with what Minister Mthuli did, it is good,” he said.
Zimbabwe has been stuck in an endless financial crisis for two decades highlighted by falling currency, high inflation, widespread unemployment and lack of liquidity.
The country abandoned its currency in 2009 relying on electronic payments, the South African Rand, the U.S dollar and in some instances barter trade to do business and to pay for goods and services.