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Forex Dealers Vow To Return To The Streets Within A Matter Of Weeks

Illegal money changers have vowed to continue their operations despite a clampdown on foreign currency trading on the parallel market.

The police have arrested scores of money changers across the country since the launch of the Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) currency last month.

On its launch, the ZiG rate was pegged at a rate of US$1: ZiG13,56 but the rate has since jumped to ZiG20 to the United States dollar on the parallel market.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga recently issued a chilling warning to illegal money changers, saying those involved in the trade risk losing their limbs.

NewsDay interviewed several foreign currency dealers who dismissed Chiwenga’s threats.

A foreign currency dealer in Harare said they have devised other means of trading in United States dollars. He said:

We are all in this mess together. The police can come to assault us because of the directive by Chiwenga but after work, they will come to us asking for the US dollars.

We are not on the streets but we now have other means of trading and this can be done over a phone call and what we are doing is not being seen on the pavements because we are now cautious in everything we are doing.

In a few weeks, we will return to the streets again, we are just like vendors and we also want to earn a living.

Another forex dealer said illegal forex dealing will only be addressed if the government ensures that both the rich and poor have access to US dollars. He said:

If the government wants everything to be normal, everyone should now have the US dollar regardless of whether they are rich or poor.

If you want to look at it the US dollar is making rounds among the rich people only and that is why this is difficult for most of the people.

The illegal money changers alleged that some police officers were taking bribes from some money changers upon arrest.

However, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi dismissed the allegations. He said:

I am not even aware of that and those people with evidence should come forward so that we can carry out our own investigations.

Meanwhile, economist Gift Mugano said the Government was to blame for exchange rate volatility and not money changers. He said:

I do not want to sound as if I am fighting for the black market. The biggest challenge we have is Treasury which pumps liquidity into construction works.

If you arrest the money changers at Copacabana you are not doing anything. These people are jobless and the government is marking the wrong man.

The wrong man is the Finance ministry which is using the wrong model to finance infrastructure; you cannot finance infrastructure with cash.

The money changers at the Road Port are just part of the ants on a mountain and the mountain is Treasury.

Do you think the government has enough police to arrest seven million people because almost everyone has been changing money on the parallel market?

Since the Government introduced the multi-currency system several years ago, illegal foreign exchange trading has become commonplace.

This shift is due to the fact that many employees receive their wages in the local currency, while certain ggods and services—such as fuel and rentals—are solely transacted in foreign currency.

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