HARARE, Zimbabwe, July 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Zimbabwean government has eased restrictions on the use of foreign currency as part of its reform programme, a week after it abolished the use of foreign currency as legal tender. These reforms are part of a wider effort to open up the economic, political, and media spaces.
In a sign of further confidence in the interim currency, the RTGS dollar, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said that the official interbank market would be allowed to freely determine the exchange rate. The government has made the RTGS dollar the country's sole legal tender, ending a decade of dollarisation and taking another step toward relaunching a fully-fledged currency by early next year.
The US dollar and some other currencies had been used by Zimbabweans for a decade, after runaway money-printing and inflation of 500 billion percent under then-president Robert Mugabe led to the withdrawal of the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009.
Under the careful stewardship of Ncube, far-reaching economic measures have increased government revenue and cut unnecessary spending. Zimbabwe is running a surplus budget for the first time in years and – with fiscal control in place – is now taking control of its monetary situation. Last week, Zimbabwe was upgraded by the World Bank from a low income to a lower middle income country.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over in 2017, has made implementing structural reforms a priority, many of them key requirements by the U.S. government to remove long-standing sanctions.
These include the Media Commission Bill, recently approved by Mnangagwa's cabinet, and the Freedom of Information bill that was gazetted on Friday. Together with the Information and Data Protection Bill, they will effectively repeal the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) once ratified by parliament.
Monica Mutsvangwa, the Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, welcomed the new Media Commission bill. "The ultimate objective is to emerge with a vibrant, non-polarised, diverse and pluralistic media sector which positively contributes to the deepening of the country's democratic processes," she said.
Among the other 30 bills that are currently being reviewed by the Mnangagwa administration is the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), a controversial emergency law under Mugabe, which is expected to be replaced by the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA) that is in line with Western standards. This follows the government's promise to modernise laws and align them to the country's constitution.
SOURCE Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Zimbabwe