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Multi-currency to stay: Chinamasa

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said government is not abandoning the multi-currency regime anytime soon.

BY Elias Mambo

Addressing captains of industry at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ) Winter School in Victoria Falls, Chinamasa said the multi-currency regime was here to stay.

“I was misunderstood a few days ago and my explanation was taken out of context,” Chinamasa said to the delight of the delegates.

“All I said was that the introduction of the multi-currency regime in 2009 is to blame for the economic challenges Zimbabwe faces today as it caused an increase in the cost of commodities and raised salaries to unsustainable levels while reducing demand.”

He said distortions were created when prices of commodities and wages were quoted as if the currency was still the Zimbabwe dollar.

“All businesses in the country equated the United States dollar to the Zimbabwean dollar resulting in the economy being unsustainable,” Chinamasa said.

The Finance minister torched a storm last week while giving evidence on the state of the economy before the portfolio committee on Finance and Economic Development in Parliament when he blamed the poor state of the economy to the use of the United States dollar.

Chinamasa’s statement raised fears of the return of the Zimbabwean dollar.

The feverish market speculation that followed Chinamasa’s comments on Monday is similar to one which hit the country late last year when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe printing company, Fidelity Printers, reportedly recalled all its contract workers at a time when there was no compelling reason for such an action.

However Chinamasa reiterated on Friday that Zimbabwe would continue to use the multi-currency regime for some time to come allaying fears expressed by captains of industry.

The multi-currency regime was introduced in 2009 in the wake of a hyperinflationary environment which rendered the Zimbabwe dollar worthless.

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