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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Zimbabwe main labour body warns of mass
protests over 'ban' on United States dollars

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s largest labor union on Tuesday threatened to organize mass protests if the government does not rescind its decision to ban use of the U.S. dollar in the economy.

Instead, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) pressed with its demand for workers to be paid in United States dollars.

The Zimbabwe government on Monday scrapped the multiple currency regime that has been in existence since 2009 and re-introduced the Zimbabwe dollar as the sole legal tender.

The Zimbabwe dollar is currently made up of the electronic RTGS, bond notes and coins that were introduced in 2016 to tame cash shortages in the economy.

ZCTU president Peter Mutasa told reporters that his organization will mobilize workers for mass protests if the government does not reverse its decision to ban the multi-currency system.

"The ZCTU has not moved from its position that the short-term solution is to dollarize and we are going to the TNF (Tripartite Negotiation Forum) meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) to demand United States dollar salary payments for all workers," Mutasa said.

Mutasa said it was unfair for workers to continue being paid in local currency which had lost value against other currencies amid a continuous rise in prices of basic commodities.

He said the ZCTU will use the Wednesday TNF meeting with government and business to express its displeasure over the ban on use of multi-currencies for trading purposes.

Zimbabwe was using the U.S. dollar, British Pound, Euro, Australian dollar, Chinese Yuan, Japanese Yen, Indian Ruppee, South African Rand and Botswana Pula as trading currencies.

However, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Tuesday the re-introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar, ditched in 2009 after being rendered worthless by a decade of hyperinflation, was necessary to ensure the economy takes off.

He said the government and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe were taking necessary steps to ensure that the new currency move succeeds, adding that the government will increase the supply of foreign currency into the inter-bank market.

He said while the multi currency system ensured stability of the economy, it did not give the country control of monetary policy and left many at the mercy of U.S. dollar pricing which was now driving inflation.

He said the conditions were now in place for Zimbabwe to have its own currency.

"When the majority earn in the local currency, but goods are priced in U.S. dollars, the outcome ill only ever be a two tiered economy: stable and affordable prices for those with access to dollars, while the majority face an unrealistically high cost of living.

"This is unfair and unsustainable," Mnangagwa said.
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UPDATE:

Zimbabwe traders try to grasp implications of ending foreign currencies

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean traders were trying to grasp the implications of a new law gazetted Monday outlawing the use of foreign currencies.

Some of the streets in the central business district, which are usually full of money changers, were generally quiet up to mid-day as many traders stayed away.

Those who opted to come reported the slight fall of the exchange rate to as low as 1 U.S. dollar to 9.00 RTGS dollars from a high of 1 U.S. dollar to 11.30 RTGS dollars at the weekend.

A trader in First Street Mall said not many people were selling, and not many people were buying either, as they sought to establish the meaning of the Statutory Instrument gazette by finance minister Mthuli Ncube on Monday.

"The announcement that was made yesterday (Monday) has really upset things.

"We don’t know what is happening and many traders have not yet been given the going rate of the day by their handlers. So they are staying away until the dust settles," said the trader.

Retailers under the banner of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) welcomed the government pronouncement, adding that they also supported measures taken by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to stabilize the interbank foreign currency market.

"The dilemma was exacerbated by the demand for U.S. dollars for domestic transactions even for goods ordinarily manufactured in Zimbabwe yet about 96 percent of the workforce earn their wages and salaries in local currency," said CZR president Denford Mutashu in a statement on Tuesday.

"Many had to offload the RTGS dollars or bond notes as soon as they laid their hands on it," he said.

He said the country had to move on and embrace its own currency and have independence in monetary policy formulation and implementation with the RBZ playing the lender of last resort role in sync with the ongoing fiscal policy reforms.

Retailers and wholesalers are urged to change over forthwith and immediately abandon selling goods and services in U.S. dollars or any foreign currency as it has been outlawed.

Non-compliance will attract unnecessary and unwanted attention to one’s brand by authorities, he warned.

Many retailers and service providers had resorted to charging for goods and services in U.S. dollars as they sought to retain profits after sourcing for foreign currency on the black market to procure their products.

The country’s biggest beverage manufacturer - Delta Corporation - has also been charging for its non-returnable bottled products in part U.S. dollars.

The future of such goods which bear foreign currency components is yet to be seen.

The country abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009 amid hyper-inflation, and the currency was officially demonetized in 2015.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

President Emmerson Mnangagwa assurance that state is
back to normalcy after re-introduction of Zimbabwe dollar

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe is back to a state of normalcy following the abandonment of the multiple-currency regime and re-introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar as the sole legal tender, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Tuesday.

In his first public comment since the re-introduction of the local currency, Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe had been under an abnormal financial situation since 2009, state news agency New Ziana reported.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube on Monday announced the scrapping of the multiple currency regime that was introduced in 2009 after the Zimbabwe dollar had been rendered worthless by hyperinflation, and re-introduced the Zimbabwe dollar as the sole legal tender, in a move aimed at stabilizing prices and containing inflation.

"Zimbabwe has gone back to normalcy and the normalcy is that a country must have its own currency," Mnangagwa told reporters on the sidelines of the African Union-United Nations Africa Wildlife Summit in the resort town of Victoria Falls.

Ncube said the Zimbabwe dollar, currently comprising the electronic RTGS dollar, bond notes and bond coins, will be the sole legal tender while nine foreign currencies that were in use namely the U.S. dollar, British Pound, Euro, Australian dollar, Chinese Yuan, Japanese Yen, Indian Rupee, South African Rand and the Botswana Pula, are no longer permissible in the country except for payment of international airline services and duty for specified luxury goods and services.

"We have not banned the possession of any other currency except that you cannot transact in any shop (using them)," Mnangagwa said.

"If you want to buy tea and you have your American dollars, then you must change them first and get your coffee."

The re-introduction of the local currency comes at a time when most traders were charging their goods and services in foreign currency, particularly the U.S. dollar when almost 80 percent of the country’s population is not getting foreign currency.

While some have welcomed the Zimbabwe dollar return, others have criticized the move, saying the timing was not yet ripe as some of the economic fundamentals were not yet in place.

"The most important thing is, are we doing the right thing or not.

"We believe we are doing the right thing," Mnangagwa said.

"When you see us move, then the fundamentals are in place."

He assured foreign tourists that they will not face any challenges with payment platforms when they visit the country.
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Zimbabwe says sitting on U.S. $600 million dollars worth of ivory stockpile

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe is sitting on ivory and rhino horn stockpiles worth 600 million U.S. dollars following the ban on hunting and trading of such products, Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.

He said the ban by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was depriving the country financial resources that it could use to support conservation of wildlife and natural resources for the next 20 years, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported Tuesday.

"We are gravely concerned by one-size-fits-all approach where banning of trade is creeping into the CITES decision-making processes," he said.

"We call upon the institution to resist the temptation of being a ‘policing institution’ and instead be developmental one which promotes the intricate balance between conservation and sustainable utilization of all wildlife resources," the president said.

He said most of the 600 million worth of ivory and rhino horn stockpile were from natural attrition of the animals.

The president was opening the inaugural African Union and United Nations Wildlife Economy Summit in the resort town of Victoria Falls on Monday.

The summit was attended by the presidents of Botswana, Zambia and Namibia as well as wildlife ministers from different countries.

Mnangagwa said Southern Africa was home to 50 percent of Africa’s elephants, which was testimony of the region’s success in wildlife conservation.

He also reaffirmed Zimbabwe’s commitment to fighting wildlife poaching, saying the country was strengthening its law enforcement to combat both internal and cross-border wildlife crime.
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China and Africa eye a community of shared future via co-operation

BEIJING China (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday vowed to work with African countries to enhance cooperation based on equality and openness to build a community of shared future.

That came as Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi addressed the opening ceremony of the Coordinators’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on the China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo | Coastweek

  After reading Chinese President Xi Jinping’s congratulatory letter to the meeting, Wang said the letter fully expressed Xi’s profound friendship toward African countries and their people, and demonstrated the Chinese government’s strong willingness to engage in friendly cooperation.

In delivering on the blueprint for China-Africa cooperation in the new era, China stands ready to work with the African side in implementing promises with concrete and effective actions, and achieving full implementation of consensus and outcomes concluded at the FOCAC Beijing Summit, Wang said.

Wang also called for sticking to the fundamental purpose of building a community of shared future and the development path of jointly constructing the Belt and Road, upholding multilateralism, and safeguarding the common interests of developing countries and emerging markets.

"Any disturbance will not affect our resolve to enhance cooperation, and any difficulty will not hinder our joint advancement in achieving rejuvenation," he said.

BEIJING China (Xinhua) -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo in Beijing, capital of China. XINHUA PHOTO - LIU BIN
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After the opening ceremony, Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, met with four foreign ministers from Afrian countries, including Nabeela Tunis from Sierra Leone, Simeon Oyono Esono Angue from Equatorial Guinea, Naledi Pandor from South Africa, and Amadou Ba from Senegal.

Also on Tuesday, Wang Yi met with foreign ministers from Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Uganda and Libya, and an official on economics from Eritrea.
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SEE ALSO:

Zimbabwe overall national inflation surges to 100 percent mark for May

             

 

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