Despite the government's insistence that the economy has not been dollarised, many state institutions are now charging for services in foreign currency, mostly United States dollars and South African Rand.
The Midlands State University (MSU) this week published a notice indicating that all students must now pay their fees in foreign currency. The fees range from US$500 to $710 for undergraduate programmnes, while those studying for the Master of Business Administration (MBA) will pay slightly over US$1,200.
Other postgraduate programmes cost up to US$824.
The new schedule was reportedly approved by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education last week, and will also be distributed to students at other state run universities.Â
No official comment was available from the MSU or the government, but a notice to students accompanying the new schedule states that all the fees for the new semester must be paid by next Wednesday.
Please note that the fees are denominated in US dollar terms, reads the notice. In the interest of opening the university as soon as possible, you are being given a week ( 7 -14 January ) to pay your fees, and complete your registration formalities. You are advised to make direct payments to the university.
It is understood the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) is also advancing towards charging fees in foreign currency. Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) president Clever Bere, said the latest move could force many students out of school.
The obvious thing is that it puts us, the students, in a very difficult position, said Bere. Our parents and guardians are not earning forex, and where will they get the money? Paying fees in forex will not solve our problems. The problem is the unstable political environment," he said.
Meanwhile churches in the country have joined the long list of organisations demanding foreign currency. A pastor with the Christian Centre church last Sunday stunned his congregation when he demanded that offerings be made in foreign currency.
Pastor Lovemore Dube stunned parishioners when he warned them against making contributions in Zimbabwean dollars.
I hope you are all aware that the Zimbabwe dollar is of no significance nowadays, said Pastor Dube, implying that donations to the cathedral be made in foreign currency.
A worshipper who spoke to RadioVOP on condition of anonymity said demanding offerings in foreign currency is likely to scare away parishioners from churches.
Efforts to contact Pastor Dube were not successful. As the Zimbabwean dollar becomes irrelevant, most businesses have resorted to trading in foreign currency.