The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), is alarmed by the recent announcement by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, of yet another mutation of the local currency and mysterious promises of monetary stability. Whilst we acknowledge the need for a strong local currency for macroeconomic development, we express serious concern over the lack of integrity in the operations of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion and the government of Zimbabwe. As a Teacher Trade Union, we represent a sector that relies solely on monetary transactions and any hiccups in the administration of money is a direct attack on the livelihoods of teachers and other workers in general. Our worries over the announced changes in the monetary regimes used in the country are not without cause or justification. Workers, like other users of monetary transactions in the country, have the most horrific historical experiences of livelihoods, savings, and investments, lost in a flash when such monetary changes were made and dubious value accredited to a worthless currency.

So, it is a very worrying moment for our sector as we risk having our meagre earnings further eroded. Most government workers including teachers are putting their money in social investments such as purchasing and developing residential stands, poultry and goat farming, as a survival tactic in the harsh economic conditions, and all these have monetary value pegged in US dollars, as a store of value.

The recent announcement of a Structured currency conjures memories of eroded monetary value and shattered investments in the past. As ARTUZ we make the following observations and demand urgent clarity on the matter, exchange.  

The Ambush manner of the Introduction of the Structured Currency

It is our considered view that legal tender denotes that a legal process must accompany the promulgation of a currency that comes into effect. Our research on the matter has revealed that neither the parliament of Zimbabwe nor the Senate had an opportunity of being informed, to contribute, or discuss the introduction of the new currency and its socioeconomic impact, and the law accompanying.

The citizens of Zimbabwe, woke up to the announcement on the press of a development which significantly affects their lives, without the benefit of sufficient notice and consultation. As a Union we maintain that citizens remain the repository of solutions to the challenges affecting their lives, in their diversity. We demand that sufficient consultations be done and room be given for submissions on the matter. Confidence plays a key role in the acceptance of any currency and consultations will result in ownership of the currency by the people of Zimbabwe .NOTHING FOR US WITHOUT US!  

Multi-currency regime

The government position on the usage of different currencies, primarily the US dollar, will be prolonged up to 2030. We demand that there be clarity on the matter assuring the citizens of Zimbabwe that the introduction of the structured currency will not interfere with the transactions in US dollars. It is a public secret that the economy of Zimbabwe has dollarized and, in some localities, the Zimbabwean dollars are not accepted either as change or for purchases. In business as well, government linked establishments like Innscor refuse to mix local currency with US dollar transactions. All these erode the confidence in the usage of a local currency that is not accompanied by solid assurances of value. We demand that there be safeguards to protect users from unscrupulous money dealers and businesses that have been bred by the economic crises and monetary instability  

The Economy has dollarized. Dollarise Civil service salaries

We demand that all salaries of government workers be pegged to the US dollar to the last cent. All facets of the economy have dollarized and keeping a façade of local currency whose value is not certain, as a component of remuneration for civil servants is hypocritical. The introduction of a new currency should be done where value of earnings is not in dispute and the exchange into another currency fluid. 

Restore the Integrity of the banking sector

It is not a secret that a lot of money in Zimbabwe exist outside the banking sector and act as fuel for monetary speculation in the case of a local currency whose value is not certain. Revelations of cash payments of sums like 1 million US dollars in donation as was recently done by Wicknell Chivayo when he donated to ZCC church, the gold mafia revelations of individuals with large stashes of money, amongst other examples point to a contributory factor to the monetary crisis. We demand that there be due diligence to force monetary transactions to be done in the banking system and eliminate room for black-market speculation. We posit that this will pave the ground for the effectiveness of a new currency and maintenance of value. To this end, ARTUZ calls upon and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to suspend the promulgation of the new Currency and give notice, unpack the Structured currency, invite input, and give the necessary assurance to the citizens.As workers tatambura kwenguva refu and we cannot bear another casino experiment with our livelihoods.

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe will continue discharging its mandate of representing teachers, and being part of the citizens collective in fighting for an inclusive education service, economy, social and political environment that allows teachers, workers, and all citizens to live dignified lives. We don’t teach in isolation!

ARTUZ information Desk @ARTUZ_TEACHERS +263776129336/777473135/775643192