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Main actors reflect on Zimbabwe's Black Friday


Structured currency to breed more misery — Rural teachers, ZCTU



THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) have expressed grave concern over the new structured currency, saying it has the potential to plunge them further into poverty and erode pensions as happened in the past when such currency reforms are introduced.


ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo told The NewsHawks that the structured currency will not be any different from the previous currencies introduced before.

“We have been there before — from agro bonds, bearer cheque, bond notes, RTGS, nostro, ZWL, to gold coins, among other attempts to improve the economy and tame inflation — to no avail. Once beaten, twice shy. As most Zimbabweans are aware, since Independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has implemented no less than 30 economic blueprints and these blueprints have dismally failed to extract ourselves from the problems the country is facing. 

“In the process, Zimbabweans and workers have lost everything they have worked for their entire life — from pensions, insurances policies and savings. The ZCTU feels that, once again, through the impending ‘structured currency’, Zimbabweans are being led down the garden path by the promises that yield nothing but disillusionment,” he said.

Moyo reiterated that what is more worrying to labour is this lack of consultation on serious policy issues.

He said there is nothing to lose but everything to gain in national ownership of programmes.

“The government is exhorted to lead and coordinate policy formulation, with effective stakeholder participation to engender national ownership. In the absence of national ownership, the chances of programme success are severely limited. What is unfolding in Zimbabwe is most worrying where the government has a silo mentality.

“How do we expect to succeed when programmes are being rolled out without stakeholder participation? How can government  approve such a fundamental policy on currency without stakeholder participation and ownership? What then is the purpose of such high-sounding platforms like the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF)?” he asked.

“As ZCTU, we urge government to always institute comprehensive stakeholder consultations as the basis for moving forward and addressing the myriad of challenges bedeviling the economy. This ‘we know it all’ syndrome must come to an end.”

Obert Masaraure, the Artuz president, said mutation of the local currency and “mysterious promises of monetary stability” are worrying.

“Whilst we acknowledge the need for a strong local currency for macroeconomic development, we express serious concern over the lack of integrity in the operations of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion and the government of Zimbabwe. As a teacher trade union, we represent a sector that relies solely on monetary transactions and any hiccups in the administration of money is a direct attack on the livelihoods of teachers and other workers in general.

“Our worries over the announced changes in the monetary regimes used in the country are not without cause or justification. Workers, like other users of monetary transactions in the country, have the most horrific historical experiences of livelihoods, savings, and investments, lost in a flash when such monetary changes were made and dubious value accredited to a worthless currency,” he said.

“So, it is a very worrying moment for our sector as we risk having our meagre earnings further eroded. Most government workers, including teachers, are putting their money in social investments such as purchasing and developing residential stands, poultry and goat farming, as a survival tactic in the harsh economic conditions, and all these have monetary value pegged in US dollars, as a store of value.”

As part of the solution, the workers want the government to fully dollarise.

“We demand that all salaries of government workers be pegged to the US dollar to the last cent. All facets of the economy have dollarised and keeping a façade of local currency whose value is not certain as a component of remuneration for civil servants is hypocritical. The introduction of a new currency should be done where value of earnings is not in dispute and the exchange into another currency fluid,” said Masaraure.

The government has said the structured currency will be backed by gold and will stabilise the money market. 

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