Charging of bills in forex by local authorities illegal.

by | Jul 4, 2023 | Business, Crime & Courts, Local News | 0 comments

Charging of bills in forex by local authorities illegal.

Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa

The billing of rates in foreign currency namely, USD by CCC local authorities especially Harare, has been condemned by the government as unlawful, with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development issuing a strong and terse warning against it

The government remains committed to the broad use of local currency for domestic transactions which started in 2019 when the Government adopted the use of the Zimbabwe Dollar and is gravely concerned by the blatant disregard by Nelson Chamisa’s CCC-led councils who are billing residents in US Dollars.

In a statement, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development said, “On the 29th of May 2023, the Government directed that all Government Agencies including   Local Authorities should collect fees and levies in local currency in order to promote the wider use of domestic currency.”

It further said, “However, Government notes with concern the outright disregard of this directive by certain Local Authorities and Government Agencies who either have gone ahead to issue notices to the contrary or continue charging services exclusively in United States Dollars. The City of Harare is one such case in point”

The Treasury has said that the behaviour is not only in contravention of the law but also militates against Government Policy. Therefore, all Government Agencies and Local Authorities are reminded to comply with the Government directive with immediate effect.

Treasury reiterated that the Zimbabwe Dollar is the only legal tender for settling local transactions with several legal instruments have been promulgated by the Government to that effect The Zimbabwean Dollar shall with effect from 24 June 2019 be the sole legal tender in Zimbabwe for all transactions, to which the Zimbabwe Dollar refers to bond notes and coins and prescribed electronic money, that is, the RTGS Dollar.

This made the ZWL the sole legal tender for all settlements in Zimbabwe and any billing for services in foreign currencies can only be done if provided for by the law or if exempted in terms of the Exchange Control Regulations.  These do not include billing of rates by Local Authorities and charging of services by Government Agencies.

Furthermore, Sl 85 of 2020 states that persons with free funds cannot be compelled to pay in foreign currency. They reserve the right to choose to pay for goods and services in Zimbabwe Dollars at the ruling rate on the date of payment.