Natasha Chamba, Business Reporter
PROMINENT industrialist and Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) member, Mr Busisa Moyo, has pleaded with Zimbabweans to have confidence in the ongoing processes of resolving prevailing currency distortions.
Government and the private sector are agreed on the need to address the currency challenges on the back of a public outcry over recent price increases that are largely fuelled by speculative parallel exchange rates.
The interbank exchange market has not yielded much change due to fewer sellers than buyers, prompting some businesses to revert to the parallel market, whose rates have soared to about USD1:5RTGS$ compared to about USD1:3,2RTGS on the formal market.
While the RTGS$ has been used as a reference local currency since February this year, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, has hinted that a fully fledged currency will be introduced within the next 12 months.
Speaking to young entrepreneurs at a British Council organised event in Bulawayo last Thursday, Mr Moyo said progress was being made in resolving the issue with Government having serious talks with key stakeholders.
“Discussion of the ushering in of a local currency in our country is currently underway and is gaining a lot of momentum.
“Government is trying to put the correct measures in place so that the currency is a success in the economy,” he said.
Mr Moyo said the biggest problem facing the economy was that Zimbabweans “lack confidence” in the interventions being put in place to deal with the challenges.
“For the local currency to work there must be confidence instilled in it and the Government, that is how our money will gain value but the problem with Zimbabweans is that they lack confidence in what is supposed to help them and the country, which is wrong,” he said.
Mr Moyo however, said that in the event the local currency drive was to take time before it was introduced, it would be wise for the country to adopt the rand.
“If the coming in of a local currency is to delay, it is more likely that the rand will be used as the main currency in the country because it is more accessible than any other currency in the country especially here in Bulawayo where we have most of our friends and family in South Africa,” he said.
“The rand is not just available in Bulawayo but nationwide because 64 percent of our exports go to South Africa and a large chunk of our remittances are in the rand monetary value.”
Mr Moyo said the Ministry of Finance should be applauded for the good job they are doing in stabilising the macro-economic climate.
“The Ministry of Finance is doing a very good job in stabilising the economy. The ministry has successfully cut costs and overspending.
“In the past weeks the ministry has had a budget surplus, something that has not been achieved in a long time,” he said.
Recent Treasury reports indicate that Government has since late last year been making a surplus of about $100 million a month due to improved revenue collections and prudent public spending.
Meanwhile, Mr Moyo, who is also the chief executive officer of United Refineries Limited, said his company was forging ahead with its plans to publicly list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).
“Despite the prevailing economic challenges, URL is still gunning on going public.
“Hopefully everything will be concluded by 2021.
“More information will be unveiled as time goes on,” he said.