January 20, 2022

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No Joy For Civil Servants In Zimbabwe

By Shingirai Vambe

Zimbabweans temporarily happy with the new monetary policy committee meeting statement which paved way for the purchasing of USD $50 at a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe auction rate but still no joy for civil servants.

The issuing of USD $50 weekly has seen majority of citizens sacrificing the cold weather, sleeping on the pavements of Western Unions around the country, bribery to get numbers from security guards and extortion to at least get $50 by the end of the day.

Under the circumstances, majority of teachers, nurses and police officers will be at their station mostly out and far away from the nearest Service Centre and surviving in abject poverty so as majority of the citizens earning their salaries in RTGS.

Post On Sunday recently took a snap survey and no good news from citizens who aired their suffering before western union tellers including those of Mukuru for not having customer care neither do they care who you are despite the fact that the money belongs to the people and not theirs.

“Nationally this is the situation, we are sleeping for more than 2 days outside trying to get $50 which in most cases fall in the hands of money changers and one would opt to rather go and buy in the street at an exorbitant rate because of the behavior, attitude and corrupt activities happening to get this money” Thomas from Mabvuku said.

Zimbabweans are once again found wanting, earning poor salary in RTGS while rentals, food consumables and fuel are only found cheap in US dollars which is currently being rated at 1:190-200 RTGS or Zim dollars.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Raymond Majongwe told this publication that, “This is another way of the system to abuse us, it’s just a smock- screen it doesn’t help anyone, the few I have asked didn’t get the money, why giving it to the Bureaux De Change whose owner we don’t know, why not use our local banks for the purpose of transparence.

We all have local currency bank accounts, and RBZ can easily access all beneficiaries of these petty funds, but they decided to use systems without trace” added Majongwe.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, president, Obert Masaraure said the economy has since dollarized and the RBZ is swiftly accepting the fact that civil servants must be paid in US dollars.

“these policies however affect those in the marginalized places where they use half of the money on transport making it to become useless” he added.

However in a queue that this publication captured at PanMart in Rusape, the elderly, the sick, young boys and girls struggled in the sun trying to access the cheap fund but it may come with regrets the same way young girls were being abused in trying to access water at boreholes, in this case prone to abuse during the night as they wrestle to get a card number.

Some may sell their cards to late comers, this is also an opportunity to make few dollars, just to make sure they get a number for sale and it will be chaos and daily routines.

Contacted for comment, RBZ spokesperson Kumbulani Shirichena said licensed Bureaux de changers in Zimbabwe can access money through RBZ at an auction rate and sell at an approved premium by the Central Bank of 10% per transaction.

“Local licensed banks are giving out the funds but at times is goes with their capital capacity to access US dollars from the central bank” Shirichena said.

Banks contacted for comment said it depends with areas, CABS bank in Manicaland received the fund once only to issue to 19 people, Stanbic bank spokesperson, Palmer Mugavha refused to comment and said it is public knowledge and Joseph Mverecha of Agribank said they are yet to receive their Bureax de change license from RBZ and start operating.

However during the just ended, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) conference it was highlighted that the central bank has run out of foreign currency hence the backlog.

Economists and bankers put the blame on RBZ claiming lack of capacity to fully service Zimbabwe and in a severe cash shortage of US dollars for citizen’s daily or monthly use.