Government Explains Why It Is Charging Passports In US Dollars And Not ZiG

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The Government has explained why it is charging passports in US dollars and not ZiG, despite making the new currency legal tender.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been on overdrive promoting and raising awareness around the Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG). On 30 April, the central bank poured ZiG10 notes into the market, but the value of the notes in circulation is not yet clear.

People have, however, been confirming that the ZiG notes are hard to come by and scarce. Some kombi routes, usually going for US$0.50, now cost US$1 because there are no smaller denominations for change.

The Contention Regarding Payment For Government Services
During the 2024 Monetary Policy Statement presentation on 5 April, RBZ Governor Dr John Mushayavanhu said fuel and passports will still be paid in US dollars. Despite requiring US dollars for these, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has been arresting foreign currency traders. Ideally, the public should be able to get the greenback from banks for any of their needs, like passport fee payments.

When Dr Mushayavanhu released the MPC, people complained, saying charging passport fees in US dollars erodes confidence in the ZiG. Some accused the government of disingenuity by promoting a currency they are skirting for fuel and passport fee payments.

Government Explains Why Passport Fees Are In US Dollars And Not ZiG
Recently, parliamentarians took Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Kudakwashe Mnangagwa to task. They probed why the Government was charging passport fees in US dollars, not the new ZiG.

Mnangagwa explained that the provision of passports is contractual as the service is a Public Private Partnership. The investor, Garsu Pasaulis, has to be paid in US dollars:

“It is a sensitive area that we don’t want to rush or expediently go to without having spoken to all the
stakeholders. Similar to some of the PPP arrangements that are there, I think the Government holds the sanctity of contract sacrosanct. An investor came in, and part of those arrangements included foreign currency pricing. These are stamped-in documents that need to be reviewed by the relevant ministries. The relevant authorities and stakeholders are looking at how we can possibly have all these areas within the ZiG domain.”

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