SI 122: Zivhu wants RBZ to avail forex
THE Cross-Border Traders’ Association has appealed to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya to avail South African rands to its members to enable them to import goods that are scarce locally.
The association’s president, Cde Killer Zivhu, said on Wednesday that such a move would be in the spirit of the recent amendment of Statutory Instrument 122, which restricted the importation of certain basic goods.
“As cross-border traders we welcome the amendment of Statutory Instrument 122 to ensure people and companies can import certain basic goods, and its main objectives of ensuring the availability of such basic goods on the local market,” said Cde Zivhu.
“But we also reckon that the main players in the success of this good intention are people living in the country who do not have easy access to foreign currency, especially South African rands.
“Those living in the Diaspora may have access to foreign currency, but many of them do not have an interest in sending basic goods to the country, especially for resale. Most of these people live with their immediate families in the Diaspora and do not have an interest in sending groceries back home.”
Cde Zivhu said cross-border traders were finding it difficult to obtain foreign currency, and in cases where they got it, it came at exorbitant rates on the parallel market.
“Obtaining foreign currency on the parallel market has led to the creation of a vicious circle of high prices for the basic goods,” he said. “An intervention by the authorities will ensure that the basic goods are available at affordable prices.”
Cde Zivhu said the cross-border traders could be encouraged to open foreign currency accounts for the RBZ to deposit the funds to enable them to purchase the basic goods, especially in South Africa.
He said there were more than two million cross-border traders in the country, with the majority of them obtaining goods for resale back home from neighbouring countries.
“Their availability and knowledge of business can be exploited to ensure that we fulfil the objectives of the Government and ensure the availability of goods on the market,” said Cde Zivhu.
Government suspended indefinitely Statutory Instrument (SI) 122 of 2017 in October to allow companies and individuals with offshore and free funds to import specified basic commodities that are in short supply due to the speculative behaviour of local retailers and panic buying by consumers.
Commodities that can now be imported include animal oils and fats (lard, tallow and dripping), baked beans, body creams, bottled water, cement, cereals, cheese, coffee creamers, cooking oil, crude soyabean oil, fertiliser, finished steel roofing sheets, wheat flour and ice cream.
Those with free funds can also bring in jams, juice blends, margarine, mayonnaise, packaging materials, peanut butter, pizza base, potato crisps, salad creams, shoe polish, soap, sugar, synthetic hair products, wheelbarrows, agrochemicals and stockfeeds.