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‘Allow some service stations to sell fuel in US dollars’ ‘Allow some service stations to sell fuel in US dollars’
By Nokuthaba Nkomo The Daily News on Sunday’s Nokuthaba Nkomo sits down for a wide-ranging interview with businessman, pastor and political commentator Shingi Munyeza. ... ‘Allow some service stations to sell fuel in US dollars’
Shingi Munyeza
Shingi Munyeza

Find below excerpts of the interview.

Q: You have called on government to sell fuel in United States dollars (USDs). Why do you think this is the best way to go given the current circumstances?

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A: My proposal is that certain service stations be allowed to sell fuel in USDs. The same service stations must then be allowed to bring in their own fuel so as to ease the foreign currency allocation pressure by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

Of course, there will still be need to control pricing both in USD and the Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS). We all know that the USD and the bond/RTGS are not 1:1.

Q: Are you suggesting official dollarisation?

A: The reality on the ground is that the economy has been dollarising soon after the July elections. We must allow market forces to play whilst cushioning the vulnerable in our society. In any case the minister of Finance did say we are now going through austerity.

Q: Government says it’s not possible at the moment to dollarise yet it is charging duty in foreign currency (forex) on vehicle importation. Isn’t this a contradiction?

A: I totally agree with the charging of duty for motor vehicles in foreign currency: The reason being that we need to preserve our meagre forex whilst trying to generate more so as to eliminate the trade deficit. When one has imported a motor vehicle, they would have used foreign currency which means they have access to foreign currency. However, I would exempt this move for vehicles below a certain threshold value.

Q: In your view, why do you think they are doing that, rejecting the bond note on imports and accepting it on domestic transactions, when they say the bond is 1:1 with the USD?

A: As I have said many times, since the introduction of the bond notes that the bond note can never be 1:1 with the USD, more so now. We should have never introduced the bond notes. Now we are trying to cure the self-inflicted wound.

My view is that we have started the journey in bringing in our own local currency and ultimately the bond note will be converted to our local currency.

Q: Why should government maintain that the bond note is 1:1 with the USD when it is clear it’s not?

A: In my view this is because we don’t have a domestic currency yet and government debt and our financial assets are denoted that way. By changing the 1:1 mantra, it means we must now declare the bond as our official local currency. It will be disastrous to prematurely bring in a local currency without stabilising the economy and bringing the much-needed confidence.

This is the whole essence of the TSP (Transitional Stabilisation Programme) as announced by government a little while ago.

Q: You have said there must be swift action on all cases of corruption. Please explain?

A: Corruption has become a cancer in our society. What is very worrying is that it has become systemic at all levels of our society.

The immediate deterrent to corruption should be, expedite all cases which have been brought before the courts. The other would be that we adequately resource Zacc (Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission) to investigate fully all the cases brought to them and bring them to the courts, where necessary, expeditiously.

The next thing is to adequately resource the other Chapter 12 commissions so they are effective and efficient because they allow for citizen participation in holding those in authority accountable as well as broaden and deepen our democracy in line with the Constitution. Once there is accountability, there is confidence, cohesion and credibility.

Q: Corruption cases, even if they are brought to court, have to follow due process, so in this case are you suggesting they must be fast tracked?

A: Anywhere in the progressive world, high-level court cases are always fast-tracked since they have far-reaching consequences to society. We should definitely do the same in our case. Delaying such cases also poses risk to evidence manipulation and further deterioration of trust and confidence in the justice system.

Q: Many doubt that the anti-corruption is genuine because they view the prosecution of cases as being selective. What’s your view on this?

A: Indeed, the perception is that Zacc’s pursuance of corruption cases is based on retribution on political enemies rather than the rule of law. This has been endemic in our justice system for a long time now. It has been difficult if not impossible to prosecute those in power.

Once corruption cases are being pursued selectively, confidence in the justice system and indeed the rule of law wanes.

Q: Why is it so important that the president publishes findings of the August 1 shootings inquiry?

A: I would like to point out from the onset that what this country and the economy has lacked is confidence. Confidence is the result of credibility and credibility is about consistently behaving according to expectations and better.

This brings cohesion and unity of purpose resulting in predictability and confidence. We have lacked confidence for at least two decades. The biggest drawback to the July harmonised elections was the August 1 shootings.

They brought to bear the suspicion and fears that the rule of law would not be upheld at all times, instead excessive force will be used as law. This is a major concern for citizens, international community and the investors. The findings will help in the healing process of the victims and affected. Without truth and justice, there cannot be healing.

Furthermore, this will allow a building of the trust with all stakeholders which in turn will bring confidence.

Q: Do you have confidence that the commission of inquiry’s findings will pave way for a new positive chapter in the country’s politics?

A: Firstly, I’m comfortable with the commissioners by and large, so that’s a good start. Secondly, when I read through the terms of reference, I was satisfied that they cover adequately the events, the process and how to deal with the outcomes.

Thirdly, all the relevant witnesses were called to respond or give testimony in a transparent way. I was however, concerned about some of the presentations given by the witnesses. I pray that the report will be made public soon as promised by the president.

Q: Let talk about dialogue between Zanu PF and MDC. Is this important?

A: The two parties control at least 95 percent of the electorate. The current impasse is coming out of the contested election result, hence raising questions on legitimacy. The nation must rise above self and party.

Zimbabweans want to move forward and yet the power play by politicians is taking us back. We must move away from constantly being in an election mode.

Q: What role are you prepared to play as the church to make sure there is meaningful dialogue?

A: The church has always been ready to engage, dialogue, mediate and lead on national issues when called upon to do so. We are therefore pleading with the political players to put Zimbabweans first in their aspirations so we move the country forward on all fronts.

Q: Is there anything which stops the church from being at the fore front?

A: Nothing stops the church to be on the fore front, we have done it in the past. Our role is always to bring warring parties to the table, engage, dialogue, mediate and reconcile.

At the moment, we are working closely with the NPRC on national healing.

Q: What hopes do you have on Zimbabwe’s political, economic and social problems taking a better turn for the development of its people and business? 

A: I’m very confident that we will soon find each other and Zimbabwe will become better and progressive and prosperous. I also believe we will reach a mutually hurting stalemate which will push everyone to the table. Above all, God has a plan for Zimbabwe and it will come to pass as He stated. Daily News.

Source: Nehanda Radio

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