Traditional shops and wholesalers in President Mnangagwa’s Midlands home province yesterday started rejecting foreign currency, demanding payment in local currency in line with the new Government policy.
Government on Monday announced the scraping of the multi-currency regime which will be replaced by the use of RTGs and bond notes as legal tender with effect from Monday.
A snap survey conducted by The Herald yesterday established that most shops and wholesalers in Gweru and Kwekwe immediately stopped trading in foreign currency and were only accepting the bond notes or RTGS.
Even popular fast food outlets which had introduced a three-tier pricing system were no longer accepting foreign currency from clients.
“We are no longer selling our products in forex. We have received a directive that the new policy announcement was with immediate effect and we should only accept local currency in line with the recent policy announcement,” said a line manager at a fast food outlet in Kwekwe.
Most supermakerts and wholesalers in Gweru and Kwekwe were also refusing forex payments.
The development resulted in most shoppers pressing a panic baton, with others resorting to the black market to dispose of their forex.
“I got into N Richards intending to buy a case of sugar using my US dollars. They told me at the till point that they were no longer taking US dollars. I had to go to the black market to dispose my forex, “ said Mr Arnold Marowa of Mbizo in Kwekwe.
Mr Mwarowa said the illegal forex dealers were reaping them off.
“There is no fixed rate today, the forex dealers have taken advantage of the fact people are still confused and they offer lower rates.
“Imagine before the new policy announcement, we were getting $110 for US$10 but today forex dealers are offering$60 for the same,” he said
Another shopper, Mrs Petronella Magaya, said the few shops that were still selling in forex had increased prices.
“A case of sugar with 10 packets was selling for US$10 at wholesale shop run by an Indian last week but today they are charging US$15.
“They are taking advantage of the fact that people are desperate to dispose of their money,” she said.