Moving backwards

Sinqobile Tessa
SHUNNED: The local currency

If our government was a person, he would be that individual with negative energy, who never wants to see other people happy and getting on with their lives.

Just when things seem normal and flowing, at least according to our standards, boom the government comes up with a crazy policy that sets us four steps back.

Before I go further, let me tell you what I mean by ‘things being normal’ considering the situations we have gone through as a country.

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This means walking into a supermarket and getting all the basics one needs regardless of prices; this also means going back again into the same shop a few days later and finding prices unchanged.

It also means being able to at least plan for a month knowing that you will get whatever you want to buy, again despite the cost because what tends to matter at most times is the availability.

Normalcy also means driving into a fuel station and fuelling your vehicle almost immediately, unlike in the past where motorists would literally sleep in a fuel queue.

So for most people, despite the economic hardships, life was okay, at least nothing was in short supply.

The major reason for this ‘normal’ situation was that although not really official, the economy had gone back to multi-currency system with the US dollar of course dominating the market.

But with the latest Statutory Instrument (SI) 127, which seeks to control the exchange rate, regulate prices and promote use of local currency, we have already seen prices of most goods going up and in no time there will be shortages.

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This will in turn fuel the black market thereby pushing the prices even higher.

Inasmuch as the government would argue and say their policies are for the good, the truth is that most of them never work in favour of the povo!

It is known that not every company or business gets its foreign currency from the central bank yet the same businesses are expected to peg their prices at the official exchange rate of 1:82 instead of 1:20 which is the black market rate.

So what these businesses will do is simply increase prices of their goods and it is us, the masses, who will be hit the most while those who come up with these laws continue with their fine dining and wining, oblivious – or uncaring! – to our suffering.

As one PTChimusoro wrote on Twitter, in remarks directed at Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube: ‘He (Ncube), must not judge SI127 based on feedback from fellow government officials.

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Judge it based on its effects on ordinary citizens. As it stands, prices have gone up and people are feeling it,’ he wrote. And feeling it we certainly are!

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