Vice President Constantino Chiwenga yesterday lashed out at corporates dipping their hands in underhand parallel market exchange dealings and equated such behaviour to “financial terrorism”.
Addressing captains of industry and commerce at the 13th Zimbabwe International Business Conference in Bulawayo, VP Chiwenga said that Government was sharpening its policies to deal with the culprits.
He expressed shock that parallel market deals were continuing to overshadow the economy despite prudent policies being put in place by Government.
“I want to give a stern warning to those practicing financial terrorism in the country. We will react accordingly as Government and nobody should claim that they were not warned. We’ll take very strict measures,” said VP Chiwenga.
He said the parallel market continued to overshadow the formal market because there were buyers and sellers who were willing to participate in its activities.
“As responsible and patriotic citizens, we should ask ourselves whether our actions are in the best long term interests of the nation?”
He said it was disappointing that some businesses were financing the black market at a time when the Government was making efforts to create a sustainable economic environment.
“The market-based framework for the determination of the exchange rate is expected to facilitate financial sector stability, contain inflationary pressures and build public confidence,” said VP Chiwenga.
He said Government will continue fighting the practice and assured the nation that what Government is doing will work.
“What we’re doing will work and what the financial terrorists are doing won’t work,” said VP Chiwenga.
He also condemned the continued spate of price increases of basic commodities, saying it was unjustified and was driven by sheer speculation.
“The rising inflation, which we’re now experiencing hurts the whole economy and its development prospects.
“The trend is as a result negatively affecting all of us. It’s now time we engage and openly discuss why as a nation we continue to experience foreign currency shortages yet our foreign currency earnings exceed those of other countries that are not experiencing the same phenomenon,” said VP Chiwenga.
VP Chiwenga said through the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), Government was implementing critical structural reforms necessary for economic turnaround.
“Some of the reforms will no doubt be painful, but are unavoidable because without them our economic fortunes can only become worse.
“Successful turnaround to improve the living standards of our people requires that we remove existing market distortions, which undermine consumer welfare through rampant arbitrage,” he said.
The business conference, which was organised by the ZITF in conjunction with the National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF) was attended by more than 800 delegates including Ministers Professor Mthuli Ncube, Mangaliso Ndlovu, Dr Sithembiso Nyoni, Professor Amon Murwira, Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni, Deputy Ministers, Ambassadors, Members of the Senate and House of Assembly, captains of industry and commerce as well as senior Government officials.