Harare, March 20, 2014 – Zimbabwe is abusing the United States dollar and has effectively devalued the currency due to distorted pricing bordered on the hyperinflationary period mentality, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.
Following galloping inflation — topping 231 million percent — the country abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar to adopt a multi-currency system in 2009 — dominated by the greenback.
However, the profiteering attitude lingered on with most goods basically priced at $1 and above.
“We migrated from the Zim dollar to the US dollar and we migrated with the hyperinflation mentality into a US dollar environment,” Chinamasa told the press on Tuesday, adding “as a result we devalued the US dollar”.
The Treasury chief said prices in Zimbabwe were too high.
“Any visitor from America is shocked that a 300ml Coca Cola costs a dollar in Zimbabwe.”
“Whether we are talking about … mushroom on the road costs $1 and if you buy mazhanje (wild fruit) they cost $1. We need to conceptualise what this means. Somebody goes to the forest and picks up something and sells it for one dollar. So this is a problem, hopefully it will be attacked by the measures (curb on parastatals’ bosses salaries) that we have taken.”
Reinforcing Chinamasa’s argument at the same event, Information minister Jonathan Moyo said “Zimbabweans need to question themselves what the real value of the US dollar is”.
“As a nation, we need to think how much is a dollar worth,” he said.
“For someone to seriously suggest that $6 000 is not a lot of money, I don’t think it is correct. This is an issue that we need to collectively engage on,” he said in relation to government’s move to slash parastatal bosses’ salaries.
Chinamasa added that Zimbabwean entrepreneurs should use the weakened rand as an opportunity to import machinery from South Africa.