Government threatens shops over bond notes
THE government has threatened to withdraw licences of shops rejecting $1 and $2 coins as well as $2 and $5 bond notes, the Daily News reports.
Businesses started rejecting the lower denominations as soon as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced $10 and $20 notes.
But while responding to questions from MPs in Parliament on Wednesday regarding the punitive measures that the government had put in place to force both businesses and individuals to accept the money as legal tender, Finance deputy minister Clemence Chiduwa urged citizens to report such cases to the police.
“What I would have wanted to say is that it is a comprehensive statement on that but on another note, in terms of the sanctions that have been given, especially to big wholesalers and retailers, in the event that they refuse the legal tender for Zimbabwe, under ministry of Industry and Commerce, we have got a section where we withdraw licences,” Chiduwa said.
The minister said for individuals rejecting the legal tender the case is however, treated as civil and not criminal.
“In terms of what we have done as intervention to make sure that people accept the bond notes and the bank notes as legal tender, we have issued a statement advising all stakeholders and the businesses informing them that the bond notes, bank notes and bond coins are still legal tender and it is illegal to refuse such in all our trading.
“For all those who have gone to shops where coins and notes have been rejected, they should report to the nearest police. At the moment, there are only civil sanctions not criminal. I think I would need to provide a statement on that issue but not now,” he said.
This comes as police have also threatened informal traders rejecting the denominations leaving citizens stranded.
In a statement this week, police spokesperson Paul Nyathi urged the public to report people who are not accepting the local currency.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police has noted with concern that some businesspeople, especially informal traders are refusing to accept local currency coins, $2 and $5 notes, which is illegal. The police will not hesitate to enforce the law on anyone found to be disregarding the country’s laws, especially during this lockdown period.
“The public is again urged to report such errant people for swift action to be taken,” Nyathi said.