Businesses will now be required to display price of goods and services in both local and foreign currencies quoting the official exchange rate of the day as authorities move in to resolve the disparities in quoting currencies in the market.
This follows President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s latest amendment of the Exchange Control (Exclusive Use of Zimbabwe Dollar for Domestic Transactions) Regulations, 2019, published in Statutory Instrument 212 of 2019.
“The Exchange Control (Exclusive Use of Zimbabwe Dollar for Domestic Transactions) Regulations, 2019, published in Statutory Instrument 212 of 2019 are amended by the insertion of the following section after section 6— “Dual pricing and displaying, quoting and offering of prices for goods and services 7. (1) Any person who provides goods or services in Zimbabwe shall display, quote or offer the price for such goods or services in both Zimbabwe dollar and foreign currency at the ruling exchange rate,”
“(2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) shall be liable to— (a) a category 1 civil penalty if the contravention is completed but irremediable; or (b) a category 4 civil penalty if the contravention is a continuing one,” read the amendment.
The move is meant to address the practice of businesses quoting prices in the local currency (ZWL) at a higher than market rate making goods and services more expensive than they are in foreign currency.
The official exchange rate currently stands at ZWL$ 72/USD but most retailers are quoting prices in ZWL at an inflated rate of between ZWL$ 90-110 against the USD.
Analysts have commended the move at a time the local currency has achieved some form of stability on the parallel market following the intervention of an efficient foreign currency auction system that is fast fixing the once massive gap between the official and the parallel market rates.
The Instrument is hence expected to bring uniformity in the quoting of prices in different currencies on the market at a time businesses have been deliberately frustrating consumers from purchasing with the local currency.
However it remains to be seen whether businesses will reduce prices in ZWL to align with the USD or increase prices in USD to align with ZWL using the ZWL$ 72/USD rate.