Zimbabwean President urges nation to defend new currency

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa feels it is the duty of every Zimbabwean to defend and protect the recently re-introduced Zimbabwe dollar as the new currency was a symbol of national pride and sovereignty.

In his 2020 New Year message, according to an online publication, Mnangagwa said the government would not allow Zimbabwe revert to the use of the multi-currency system adopted 2009 by the now defunct Robert Mugabe government.

Back in 2009, soaring inflation prompted the government to ditch its failing sovereign currency in favour of a basket of foreign currencies anchored by the US dollar.

“Let us individually and collectively defend and protect it (new currency) as our symbol of national pride and sovereignty,” he said.

His call comes when the new currency, introduced last November, continues to tumble against major currencies.

Most retailers and service providers are now trading their products in US dollars or pegging their prices in local currency using US dollar black market rates.

Other retailers and public transport operators are no longer accepting denominations lower than the Zimbabwe dollar coin.

However, Mnangagwa is adamant Zimbabwe will never trade again on other countries’ currencies.

“Our own currency, the Zimbabwe dollar, introduced in the last quarter of the year must speedily take root. There is no going back on mono currency,” he said.

In June 2019, the government moved to defend the Zimdollar against speculators by banning all foreign currencies in local transactions. But the effort has largely failed after the local currency has been exposed to black market speculation that sent its value plummeting.

In his address, Mnangagwa also promised to ‘quantitatively improve’ the welfare of civil servants.

“The welfare of our public sector workers will also continue to quantitatively improve. As your listening president and servant leader, I will continue engaging with you and listening to your concerns so that we walk hand in hand,” he promised.

He said his government was committed to more creating jobs, economic growth and productivity in a country where more than 80% of the working population is unemployed.

“Going forward, 2020 will be the year of higher productivity, economic growth, job creation and satisfying the needs of the people. We must persevere through this rough, but necessary path to growth and prosperity.

“We can’t live in the past, we can only learn from it,” he said.

According to the United Nations, over eight million people in Zimbabwe – more than half of the population – are in need of food aid due to drought and mismanagement of the economy by the government. Parents are failing to send their children to school as they cannot afford to pay school fees.