By Staff Writer
An association of cross-border traders has blasted various government ministries for failing to curb the illicit foreign currency dealings currently affecting the country’s economy.
In a statement, Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders Association (ZCBTA), secretary-general, Augustine Tawanda hailed the Ministry of Finance for putting up a fight to resolve the illegal foreign currency trade menace but said the efforts should be reciprocated by other relevant ministries.
“The ZCBTA appreciates the efforts by the Minister of Finance and exchange control authorities to tame exchange rate volatility which is being driven by corporate indiscipline, greediness, and primitive capital accumulation on the part of industry and commerce. ZBCTA is concerned that there are no corresponding measures being taken by other relevant ministries to curb this crisis,” he said.
“Given this sad development, there is need for all hands on deck approach and we are therefore demanding that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce should conduct value chain audit on exorbitant markups for basic commodities and deploy inspectors to enforce compliance.
“It should also create a hotline for use by the republic in order to stem out this rot in retail and wholesale sectors and also ensure that there is no major distortion in the price of basic commodities and other locally produced goods countrywide,” Tawanda added.
The organisation also called for the Ministry of Energy to ‘take robust action against fuel dealers who access forex from the RBZ at bank rate but continue to sell fuel in USD’.
The cross-border traders cited the Ministry of Agriculture to protect the agro-based value chain and the Ministry of SMEs to revisit the concept of people’s shops.
“The Ministry of Agriculture should protect the agro-based value chain by preventing fertilizer manufacturers from demanding payment in the US dollar indexed at parallel market rate when farmers were paid for the products in RTGS pegged at the official rate.
“The ministry responsible for SMEs should revisit the concept of people’s shops and facilitate organized traders to access goods directly from local manufacturers in order to lower prices in the market through competition from informal economy players,” ZBCTA asserts.
According to the organization,over 300 thousand cross-border traders have lost their source of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic and pleaded with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to open up spaces for cross-border traders to operate.
The call by ZBCTA is coming at a time government is descending heavily on firms that are violating the Exchange Control Act and on Tuesday former Finance Minister and opposition Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Simba Makoni was hauled before the courts on Tuesday for contravening the act.