Chitungwiza councillors on Thursday could not reach consensus over the currency the municipality should use to sell land.
The disagreement followed a recommendation put forward by the Finance Committee for land sales to be paid in US dollars. Those who were for the recommendation opined that it would bring sustainability to the municipality while those against thought it was unjust since the government is still paying workers’ salaries in RTGS dollars.
Currently, the land is being sold at RTGS$8 per square metre. The price is viewed as not realistic by Finance committee chairperson Councillor Peter Matiringe who is championing the selling of land in USD. Matiringe said:
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We cannot thrive if we are giving away our land just like that. We need to charge in US dollars. This will also help to minimise the operations of land barons and clients would prefer to buy stands directly from the council.
Councillors who support the recommendation predict a total collapse of the municipality if the land is not sold in USD. They also made reference to Harare City Council and shops who are already selling their goods and services in USD.
The RTGS dollar has been depreciating since its introduction in February. When it was introduced, it was pegged at a 1:1 ratio. Although the official and Parallel market rates are different, they all point to the shedding of the local currency.