Government blocks Harare City Council billing in USD

THE Finance Ministry has barred Harare City Council from charging bills and other services in USD saying this can only be done if provided for by law or if exempted in terms of the Exchange Control Regulations.

In a letter dated June 30, 2023 addressed to Local Government, Finance permanent secretary George Guvamatanga said the move by the Council was unlawful as ZW$ is the sole legal tender for all settlements within Zimbabwe.

“The charging and billing in United States Dollars by the City of Harare or any local authority is unlawful and contravenes the Constitution.

“As city councils under your purview, may you ensure that the City of Harare withdraws its notice and that all local authorities comply with the relevant laws. Be guided accordingly,” reads part of the letter.

The letter was in response to a Harare City Council notice dated June 29, 2023 which advised residents that billing of rates and other services in the USDs with effect from July 1, 2023.

“In June, 2019, the government published the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) (Legal Tender) Regulations, 2019 published in Sl 142 of 2019. The provisions of SI 142 of 2019 were incorporated in the Finance (No2) Act, 2019 Section 2 of Sl 142 of 2019 provides that:

“Subject to section 3, with effect from the June 24 June, 2019, the British Pound, USD, South African rand, Botswana pula and any other foreign currency whatsoever shall no longer be legal alongside the Zimbabwe dollar in any transactions in Zimbabwe

“Accordingly, the Zimbabwe dollar shall. With effect from June 24, 2019 , but subject to section 3, be the sole legal tender in Zimbabwe in all transactions,” added Guvamatanga.

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