Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders Association has called on Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube to investigate the source of bond notes and other currencies that have flooded the black market in border towns.
In an interview yesterday, the organisation’s president Dr Killer Zivhu said the liquidity crisis in the country had hit hard on cross border traders and ordinary Zimbabweans.
He said it boggles the mind that border towns were flooded with millions of bond notes and other currencies, which were not circulating in the formal system.
Dr Zivhu said the Finance minister and officials at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) should implement urgent reforms to deal with the economic situation.
“We are concerned with the situation where ordinary Zimbabweans countrywide are affected by the liquidity crisis and the fact that there is no money in the banking system yet the black market in border towns is well supplied,” said Dr Zivhu. “It is common cause that money changers have been in existence for a very long time and these need to be incorporated into the fiscus.
“Government should encourage these people to form consortiums and open bureau de changes.
“Under such a set-up it (Government) can be able to regulate exchange rates, rather than the current scenario where those with dip pockets are determining the rates willy-nilly.
“We are willing to work with central Government and the Minister of Finance in addressing the cash crisis,” he said.
Dr Zivhu said most economic activities were cross border-related and that these have been strongly affected by the cash shortages.
He said in some cases children of cross-border traders were dropping out of school as a result of the financial strain.
Dr Zivhu said it was important for Government to review the duty regime and introduce incentives to entice people to pay tax.
“There should be an incentive for people to pay duty at affordable rates especially for those importing the products we don’t manufacture,” he said.
“Indications are that smuggling activities are rampant across our border as people try to avoid paying excess duty or they cannot acquire the requisite permits to import basics due to red tape.”