Dirty deals, retailers and cash moguls manipulate exchange rate

By Stanley James, Business Editor

Despite Zimbabwe generating more foreign currency to sustain the economy, illicit deals, unscrupulous retailers and some business moguls are allegedly involved in transactions which are sabotaging the local currency.

Official data from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe shows that the country recorded its highest ever foreign currency receipts of more than US$9,7 billion 2021, a huge figure compared to several African economies.

However, with the country having adequate foreign currency inflows, it is the abuse of the hard cash through illicit deals that has raised questions on the extent to which measures being instituted to stamp out these illegal transactions are helping the situation.

Findings by the ZBC News also revealed that a combination of illicit traders, business moguls, several companies and greedy retailers are allegedly taking part in currency manipulations which are coming at a cost to the ordinary consumer in terms of price instability.

“It is a systematic approach whereby the markets are just responding to the fundamentals with the need to overhaul the current scenario being key to sustained exchange rates in the near future,” said economist Eddie Cross.

Even supermarkets are being exposed by consumers for pegging prices using the black market rates.

“Yes they are pegiing their prices with the black market rate, so we don’t know what can be done. It’s a serious issue that requires serious solution,” a supermarket customer commented.

But are the authorities aware of the illicit deals and moreso those who are behind them?

ZRP National Spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said: “The RBZ and the police – we are already doing our investigations so that we can have tangible evidence. As I speak, some arrests have been made and very soon further details will be released.”

The path to economic growth trajectory as revealed by experts now depends on the ability by relevant authorities to consolidate the stability gains achieved so far under the Second Republic.