Zanu PF Vows Crackdown on Businesses Rejecting ZiG Payments and Inflated Exchange Rates

Munyaradzi Machacha
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BULAWAYO – Zanu PF national political commissar, Munyaradzi Machacha, declared over the weekend that anyone refusing to accept ZiG payments or using inflated exchange rates, including any ruling party members in business, will face arrest and prosecution.

Speaking in Bulawayo on Saturday, Machacha emphasized that the law would be applied uniformly, with no exceptions. He urged party officials to lead by example.

“For Zanu PF business people, I would say ‘lead by example’. If you are truly Zanu PF, you should work for the success of ZiG and Government policies because a stable currency will benefit all of us,” he stated.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced the ZiG, backed by gold and foreign exchange reserves, in early April to replace the Zimbabwe dollar. Since its launch, the ZiG has remained stable against the US dollar, contributing to price stability and increasing consumer buying power, receiving widespread endorsement from economic stakeholders.

Despite this, some businesses resist the change, with consumers complaining about unscrupulous practices. Some businesses either do not accept ZiG or inflate foreign currency prices to justify higher local currency costs, avoiding compliance with the official exchange rate of slightly below ZIG13.5 to the US dollar. In some cases, traders pretend their swipe machines lack network connectivity to force US dollar payments. Others, particularly in the informal sector and city food outlets, refuse ZiG transactions, compelling consumers to buy unnecessary items due to lack of change.

Public reports have implicated businesses owned by senior ruling party members in these practices, accusing them of sabotaging efforts to stabilize the economy. “The ZiG will benefit the community and consumers. It will benefit business people and strengthen our economy,” said Machacha.

“We must encourage discipline and ethical conduct from everyone, including Zanu PF members. Anyone defying this is fighting against the party’s goals and must be punished.”

His remarks coincide with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) establishing a hotline and WhatsApp number for the public to report operators rejecting ZiG or exceeding the official exchange rates. The FIU has already frozen the bank accounts of 522 operators and individuals for exchange violations and charged 140 companies and individuals with severe civil penalties.

The FIU is also targeting those using multiple bank cards for large transactions, a tactic often employed by middlemen who exchange ZiG purchases for US dollars. Surveillance has increased compliance, particularly in the formal sector.

In May, the government promulgated Statutory Instrument 81A of 2024, penalizing exchange rate violations. Under these regulations, offenders face a minimum civic penalty of ZiG200,000, with larger fines proportional to the amount involved.