ZANU PF MPs yesterday blasted Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa for being evasive over the unending cash crisis and his failure to rein in illegal money changers.
Zanu PF legislators, most of whom lost the ruling party’s primary elections like John Holder (Zvishavane Ngezi), Irene Zindi (Mutasa South) and David Chapfika (Mutoko South), fired the hardest hitting questions to Chinamasa in a major volte-face.
Their opposition counterparts also put the Finance minister to task over similar issues.
“It boggles the mind, looking at the laxity by government, to take action on money changers in every city, and what is the policy decision that the Finance minister will take to curb the illegal money deals?” Zindi asked.
Chinamasa skirted the issue and said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was in the process of authorising bureau de changes.
He said cash shortages were being caused by low exports and not necessarily the money changers.
Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T) said Chinamasa could easily deploy the police to arrest the money changers.
“These things happen at Eastgate, and minister, you live in Zimbabwe and not South Africa,” Maridadi charged.
As Chinamasa continued being technical and talking about exports, Chapfika then blasted him saying: “What we are discussing here is an important issue and you are hiding behind a finger and becoming technical.
“In other words, the minister is condoning the practice of illegal cash deals on the basis of technical issues of demand and supply.
“It takes us back to the (former RBZ governor) Gideon Gono era and the minister needs to be serious because this is not a technical issue, but a policy issue.”
Before that, Holder had asked Chinamasa to explain why the country continued to experience cash shortages five months after the new government, led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, came into power.
In response, Chinamasa said Zimbabwe had shifted to a cashless society, hence, the need for most transactions to be done electronically without resorting to hard cash.
He added that the cash crisis could not be resolved overnight.
Chinamasa said point-of-sale machines had increased from 40 000 to 120 000, adding that soon, it would be a requirement for everyone in business to transact using the gadgets.
He said of the $97 billion transactions in the country, 96% of them were cashless. MPs said Chinamasa was clueless and asked him to issue a ministerial statement on the cash crisis.