In what can only be described as theatre, the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has threatened to stop supplying any shops that refuse bond notes and coins with mealie-meal arguing these currencies are still legal tender. The thing is on paper GMAZ already delivers only to shops that accept bond notes and coins, big retailers such as OK, Choppies, FoodWorld and Pick N Pay have never stopped accepting bond notes and coins. They still accept all legal forms of payment.
We urge all entities distributing our products to accept all local bank notes and use them to buy from us or bank them and pay for our products by bank transfer. Our products can be bought using either cash or mobile money or bank transfers. We demand that the same payment arrangement be extended to consumers.GMAZ Chairman Tafadzwa Musarara
Mr Musarara insisted that all the products made by GMAZ members such as maize-meal, self-raising flour, salt, rice, sugar beans and soya chunks can be bought using bond notes or mobile money. In reality it’s both true and false.
The informal sector
The problem is that most people do not buy their groceries from the big shops which tend to be very law-abiding by the way. A lot of us rely on the corner tuck-shop for basic purchases especially given the current lock-down rules. When the dude or gal in the corner tuck-shop says she won’t be taking bond notes or coins there is very little you can do about it except pay using whatever is being asked for.
As mentioned in the previous article, even when it comes to roller meal and refined mealie-meal, the tuckshops do whatever they want and demand whatever currency they want. They are not supposed to legally even have roller meal as they do not meet subsidy requirements and yet they never seem to run out of roller meal which they sell in US dollars. Everyone knows if you cannot find something in a big supermarket because they are shortages all you need to do is go to the tuckshops-the famous downtown tuckshops for example.
Why? Because the power of the greenback is real. Products from major brand manufacturers including GMAZ members are in plentiful supply down there and only being sold in whatever currency these tuckshops want. It’s simply not feasible for GMAZ to follow through with their threats because the shops fleecing us already do worse things and are probably already banned from getting deliveries and yet they are well stocked.
So yes, saying GMAZ will stop supplying shops that refuse bond notes and coins will probably not make them take my $2 bond notes. Inflation has seen to that. Anything else is just threatre.