Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Vice President Tendai Biti has asked Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube to issue a statement in response to the rising inflation which he said is now at 430%.
Biti who is also a Member of Parliament for Harare East made the remarks while in Parliament on Wednesday. The former Finance Minister during the Government of National Unity (GNU) said:
The cost of living has risen, inflation is now 430%.
Therefore, I am respectfully asking the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to give a Ministerial Statement on the rising inflation, the exchange rate which is now 1: 800 and the continued arbitrage.
In the shops there are now goods that are being charged exclusively in USD. Cooking oil, sugar and other commodities – retailers are refusing to accept ZWL.
Madam Speaker, in that Ministerial Statement, may the Minister of Finance and Economic Development also explain the logic of gold coins.
In June this year, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) reported that the country’s annual inflation rose to 191.6 per cent that month, up from 131.7 per cent reported in May. Biti has always maintained that ZIMSTAT is understating inflation.
As the local unit continued to shed value against other currencies, businesses resorted to selling some commodities exclusively in foreign currency saying their suppliers were demanding forex.
Finance Minister Ncube responded this Tuesday saying the government won’t accept that “nonsense” and threatened to “withdraw licences and will withdraw the duty rebate licences for companies that have been doing this.”
Zimbabwe’s economy has been receding for the past two decades, a situation that has worsened this year as the Russian invasion of Ukraine compounded with black market foreign exchange has depleted the value of the Zimbabwe dollar.
The government recently announced a cocktail of measures meant to stabilise the economy. Among them is the introduction of gold coins which Biti says is a ploy by political elites to steal from members of the public.