Government has instructed public departments and businesses to desist from charging goods and services in United States dollars or referencing to the foreign currency in their pricing regime.
In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development said although it was empowered to determine payment instruments, it had not yet issued directives to charge in foreign currency and was worried at the arbitrary growth of the trend.
“Treasury notes that some Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies are demanding payment for goods and/or services rendered in foreign currency or the equivalent in RTGS Dollars at the prevailing interbank rate,” said the statement.
“Section 78(1)(r) of the Public Finance Management Act [CAP 22:19] empowers Treasury to prescribe or issue instructions or directions to Ministries, whether individually or collectively, concerning the determination of any scales of fees, other charges or rates relating to revenue accruing to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“Notwithstanding the current trends where services providers are unilaterally reviewing prices of goods and services, Government remains committed to the provision of services at cost recovery levels, cognisant of the need to ensure affordability and accessibility to the general public.
“It is important to note that Treasury has not approved any changes to the prevailing levels of fees and payment modalities. Thus, Government fees, charges and levies remain at the approved RTGS Dollars that were formally communicated to each Ministry, Department or Agency.”
Treasury instructed errant units to rethink.
“In view of the above, Line Ministries have since been directed, to desist from referencing any fees and charges to the USD, as well as unilaterally and illegally reviewing such fees without the approval of Treasury,” read the statement.
With the uncertainty on the foreign exchange market, which is being manipulated by powerful shadowy forces, service providers have resorted to pegging prices in US dollar terms, ostensibly to hedge against inflation and price shocks.