Commuter omnibus operators plying the Chitungwiza to Harare route are charging fares in United States dollars, saying that they need to raise cash to buy fuel which is readily available for those paying using foreign currency.
A single trip from Chitungwiza, which is nearly 30 kilometres from Harare, now costs US$1 or $25 (local currency) hard cash while commuters who using EcoCash have to part with $40.
The kombis are mostly demanding forex during peak hours and the practice started almost a fortnight ago when the central bank announced that the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) could start receiving applications from fuel companies that have free funds for direct imports to be sold in hard currency.
Meanwhile, Local Government and Public Works Deputy Minister Marian Chombo said charging in US dollars was illegal as pronounced in Statutory Instrument 212 of 2019. She said:
The SI promulgates the exclusive use of the Zimbabwe dollar for domestic transactions. The Instrument provides for penalties related to contravention of provisions in the Statutory Instrument.
The RTGS dollar and the bond notes and coins are the sole legal tender currencies. Government is seized with ensuring the protection of commuters.