Retailers and wholesalers have ignored warnings by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) Financial Intelligence Unit against pegging Zimbabwe dollar prices for their goods and services to black market exchange rates.
Despite the recent arrest of directors of some top companies over the black market rates issue, a survey by The Herald in Harare on Wednesday indicated that the majority of traders are using black market rates ranging from US$1:$150 to US$1:$200 when the official rate is US$1:$93.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi reportedly refused to comment on the issue of enforcement, referring all questions to the RBZ.
Meanwhile, Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers Association (CZRA) president Denford Mutashu confirmed the practice but called for dialogue between Government and the traders. He said:
The continued foreign currency exchange rate challenges emanate from rising demand for foreign currency by both businesses that access foreign currency from the auction and those that source from the parallel market.
There is a need for a balanced approach as the recent extreme measures are currently leading to shortages of selected products as some manufacturers and suppliers slow down supply.
Applying the law on the pricing of goods and services in respect of businesses that are not sourcing foreign currency from the auction system like us, is tantamount to price control.
Recently, RBZ warned businesses against currency manipulation saying the FIU was investigating allegations that had been raised against Chicken Inn and Bakers’ Inn on social media.
Chicken Inn and Bakers’ Inn were accused of using a black market rate of US$1:$200 when the official forex rate was below US$1:$90.
Last week, Best Zone Pharmacy and Farm and City were in court accused of violating the Exchange Control Act.