In a candid brief during the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) summit in Harare, Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) president Israel Murefu said the Zimdollar had failed as a currency and had to be dumped if it did not stabilise by mid-year.
“Currency has to store value, and in all honesty, the local currency cannot be said to be a store of value,” he said.
“The currency tends to move in one direction that is downwards. A normal currency must fluctuate — move up or down depending on supply and demand aspects in the economy. We need to stabilise the currency and if we fail to do so by mid-year or end of year we have to look at an alternative currency.”
Murefu called on government to implement a raft of measures, including borrowing from the open market, barring the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe from creating or printing money to fund government deficit as well as engaging in quasi-fiscal activities.
The Emcoz president was backed by the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange chief executive Justin Bono, who said the Zimdollar had basically made everyone poorer and destroyed money markets, which were now valued at a third of what they were during the United States dollar era.
“We don’t get investors coming to us anymore to raise money because of currency issues. Those who want to raise money say, ‘look, we don’t know how much to raise because if we say we want this much, then by the time we raise it, the money would have lost value and won’t be sufficient to buy what is needed’,” Bono said.
The local bourse is now lobbying for a law allowing companies to raise foreign currency, especially exporters.
Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander warned that the system could collapse if workers’ earnings eroded by the introduction of the local currency were not restored.
“The market has re-dollarised, but we are still earning in local currency and the salaries have not even moved upwards. The spending power of the worker has to be restored or social systems will collapse,” she said.
Through the Tripartite Negotiating Forum, labour has demanded a minimum national wage of $3 800, but business is reportedly resisting.