A financial farce or tragedy in the making


In a move that has left economists scratching their heads and comedians rubbing their hands with glee, the Zimbabwe government has issued a directive that’s as puzzling as a chameleon in a bag of Skittles.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, in a statement that could easily be mistaken for a late April Fool’s joke, has declared the new ZiG as the official currency of the government. The statement, titled “Transition from ZWL to the new currency Zimbabwe Gold (Zig): Measures to promote market adoption and acceptance,” reads like a recipe for a financial soufflé that’s destined to fall flat.

The government has advised all ministries, departments, agencies (MDAs), and the private sector (including those hard-working retailers and service providers) to accept and recognise the ZiG as the official currency for all financial transactions and payment for all goods and services, effective immediately. It’s like asking a vegetarian to start eating meat because it’s Tuesday.

In a twist that would make a pretzel jealous, all collections by the government and the private sector shall be made in ZiG or any of the currencies in the multi-currency basket without insisting on any specific type of currency or indexing invoices to the USD, unless a specific legislation allows. It’s like saying you can pay in any currency, as long as it’s ZiG.

The Treasury added, “To ensure orderly pricing, Government will soon be introducing the necessary regulations to ensure that no exchange rate other than the official rate will be used for the pricing of all and services.” It’s like promising to fix a leaky faucet by turning off the water supply.

The irony of the situation is as rich as a chocolate cake. The government is directing the private sector to accept ZiG, yet government departments are frowning at the new currency.

Even the Governor of RBZ, Dr. Mushavanhu, charged in USD as an entrance fee at an event where he was speaking about the ZiG. It’s like a chef who cooks a meal but prefers to eat next door.

How can people trust a currency that even its own creators seem to be wary of? Only time will tell if this financial comedy turns into a tragedy.

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