President Emmerson Mnangagwa plans to use the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act to deal a decisive blow to foreign currency dealers. Mnangagwa outlined the plans in his weekly column in the Sunday Mail state newspaper.
Resisting growing calls to arrest money changers, Mnangagwa said he was not interested in the street dealers.
“It has come to light that the money changers we see in street corners are mere ‘runners’ who work for big currency sharks who operate from high places in air-conditioned offices,” he wrote.
“Currently we have no legislation to deal with currency manipulators … We therefore need urgent and robust measures to deal with this financial menace. …We need to show all offenders that crime does not pay, but that it is painfully paid for by way of compounded grief it visits upon all such offenders.”
“Accordingly, I have now instructed the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to work closely and expeditiously with the Attorney-General in order to produce a new set of regulations which will be promulgated under temporary law-making powers which I, as President, am allowed by the Constitution.”
Critics have long argued the Act is at odds with the new constitution.
In 2017 legal watchdog Veritas called it unconstitutional: “The Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act is unconstitutional in its entirety and therefore invalid, making regulations under the Act also invalid.”
A Harare-based financial analyst who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals told Kukurigo the legal threats would only exacerbate the situation.
“RTGS and Bond Notes do not attract the same value as a US Dollar. That will not change even if you arrest people. If anything, the arrests will increase risk and squeeze US Dollar supply thereby pushing the rate higher. Gono tried it and failed,” he said.
“Mnangagwa’s advisors must tell him about the American prohibition. That is the masterclass for anyone who thinks the any law can kill the black market.”
Banks have run out of the precious US Dollar as depositors refuse to deposit under the RTGS1 to USD1 monetary policy regime.