Thursday, November 6, 2008

ZIMBABWE: Cash withdrawal limit and dolarisation of the economy

ZCTU Press Release, 5 November 2008

1. ZCTU'S RESPONSE TO THE CASH WITHDRAWAL LIMIT

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has received with disgust the news that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has decided to review cash withdrawal limit from $50 000 to $500 000 despite calls from labour, including different sectors, exhorting the RBZ to remove the cap on cash withdrawals.

The ZCTU wrote letters on 22 July, 4 September, 8 September, 22 September 2008 and even met a reserve bank of Zimbabwe official, a Mr Nyarota on 19 September 2008 to express its concerns that the withdrawal limits were below what an ordinary family requires for daily expenditure.

It appears everything came to naught.

This therefore means that the RBZ is not only taking workers for granted, but also not taking workers' concerns seriously. It appears the RBZ is enjoying seeing workers queuing for their hard earned cash.

As some might be aware, The ZCTU General Council met on Saturday 20, September 2008 and gave the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) a seven-day ultimatum to address the deepening cash crisis affecting the generality of Zimbabwean workers. However, following moves by the RBZ to resolve the issue, the General Council noted the response by the Governor of the RBZ and decided to shelve the Mass Action that was penciled for 1st of October 2008 to test the sincerity of the RBZ.

It appears the RBZ took workers for fools.

We are therefore demanding that the RBZ remove the cap on cash withdrawal with immediate effect and failure to do so action is in the offing. This time there is no going back.

2. DOLARISATION OF THE ECONOMY

The ZCTU is perturbed by the current wave of dolarisation or Americanisation of the Zimbabwean economy by the authorities at a time when most workers in Zimbabwe are earning their wages in Zimbabwean dollars.

We all remember that in 1979, the then Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, Bishop Abel Muzorewa was castigated left right and center for naming this country Zimbabwe Rhodesia, but 29 years later the country has been named, in a subtle way, Zimbabwe-America. This is because all operations are now based on American dollars despite the racist rhetoric from the authorities that appear to be anti-American.

So who is fooling who?

How do our leaders feel moving around with notes bearing the head of George Washington despite their vilification of whites and colonialism? Is this not another form of colonialism? It is so embarrassing and shameful that they no longer want to see the Zimbabwean dollar.

If they do not want to use the Zimbabwean dollar, why can they not use currencies from other African States like the Rand, the Kwacha, the Pula and even the Meticas?

The ZCTU says no to dolarisation and the extension of America into Zimbabwe. If they want the use of the American dollar in all payments to continue, then the ZCTU is demanding that all workers be paid in American dollars, since it seems we are now part of America, despite the veiled denials by our politicians, particularly President Robert Mugabe.

Wellington Chibebe, Secretary-General, 4 November 2008