Monetary regulations harming the poor

The MDC condemns the current monetary regime which allows both individuals and companies to withdraw a paltry $1 000 per day which is not enough to address the basic needs of an average family.

The long queues at our banks as people strive to withdraw their salaries are an indictment on the unworkable policies of this government.

Maximum daily withdrawal limits have put a strain on both companies and individuals as the amounts are largely inadequate even for a two way trip to Chitungwiza. An average family of five needs about $7 000 to buy basics every day and $1 000 per day is not even enough for a two-way trip to Chitungwiza.

Civil servants and ordinary Zimbabweans are spending important production time of up to a whole day in bank queues waiting to withdraw money that is only enough to buy cellphone airtime for four minutes!

The repercussions of keeping people’s money in banks while inflation erodes value are far greater than simply increasing the daily limit.

The restrictions on daily maximum withdrawals have spawned corruption, crime and petty theft as people resort to other means of raising a quick buck to sustain their families.

With the critical humanitarian situation in the country, people need money to feed their families and their parents. Even the BACOSSI programme has dismally failed to address the massive starvation that has swept across the country. It has failed because people need more than just cooking oil, beans, soap and mealie meal which are covered by this programme. They need to pay school fees for their children.

They need water and power in their homes. They need transport to go to work.

They need to buy clothes and school uniforms for their children.

They need to survive in this hostile economy where all measures taken by the previous government have dismally failed to ameliorate the people’s poverty.

The RBZ regulations to allow selected shops and wholesalers to sell goods in foreign currency will cause more havoc on an economy already teetering on the brink of total collapse. It is unclear where ordinary Zimbabweans will be expected to access the foreign currency to buy these goods without resorting to the parallel market. It is also unclear how a majority population getting its salary in local currency will be expected to take advantage of these shops.

The MDC hopes that Zanu PF moves away from its intransigent position on key ministries so that a new government begins to address the people’s basic needs. The only way forward is to speed up the political resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis as brokered and guaranteed by SADC and the African Union on 15 September 2008.

Zimbabweans cannot wait any more.

Hon Elton Mangoma, MP

MDC Secretary for Economic Affairs

Post published in: News

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