President Emmerson Mnangagwa has described the recent spiralling of foreign currency exchange rates against the local currency as an act of ‘economic sabotage.’
Fluctuations in the exchange rates saw the Zimbabwe dollar trade at over ZW$20 against the United States Dollar resulting in retailers adjusting prices of basic commodities to levels beyond the reach of many ordinary Zimbabweans.
Delivering his State of the Nation Address (SONA) at Parliament building in Harare this afternoon, President Mnangagwa said the government was committed to grow and open the economy for the benefit of all citizens.
“However, last week’s events of exchange rate manipulation, amounts to economic sabotage and should not be tolerated,” bemoaned Mnangagwa.
“We all need to adhere to the rule of law and foster discipline at all levels.”
He was, however, quick to say the government would not revert to price controls but will instead strengthen laws on anti-money laundering.
In 2008 shelves of supermarkets across the country became empty following the introduction of price controls.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has since frozen accounts of companies that were believed to be behind the exchange rates manipulations and banned the mobile cash-in, cash-out, and cashback facilities.
“Government is fully aware of the challenges faced by the public in accessing cash, which has resulted in some unscrupulous traders selling cash in exchange for electronic money,” said Mnangagwa.
“Appropriate measures are being taken to address the cash situation, which includes a gradual removal of arbitrage opportunities created through multitier pricing. I am pleased to highlight that the ongoing fiscal consolidation measures are already paying off.”
The President said the government was determined to consolidate digital financial services which are contributing to the creation of financial inclusion by way of delivering banking services to previously unbanked and vulnerable groups of our population.
The main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, however, walked out of Parliament before the President could deliver his address.