Over the past few weeks the ZWL: USD rate on the black market has been on an upward trend. It moved from the relative calm of around $140 ZWL : 1 USD where it had settled a few months ago to around 170ZW:1 USD. It seems however some shops are now using a rate that is higher than this. That is not unusual, most shops try to stay ahead of the black market rate in case it rises. It seems, from pictures on social media that one such entity is Simbisa Brands’s Zvishavane Bakers Inn branch which is selling products using a rate of $200 ZWL : 1 USD.

A receipt showing Simbisa using a rate of 200 ZWL: 1 USD

It’s not clear whether this is a genuine receipt from the said branch but it does appear genuine at first glance. Generally most shops, despite SI 127 of 2021, do offer USD discounts. This is because if they don’t they lose out on making USD sales as people will simply sell their USD to dealers who mill around these establishments. They then come in and use an RTGS swipe. In the end, because the shops need the USD they then end up having to pay a premium to these dealers when they eventually have to buy USD for their operations. Offering discounts is actually cheaper as it encourages people to buy directly in your shop using USD and thus you cut the middlemen (forex dealers) from the equation.

RBZ say they are investigating.

The RBZ has said they are aware of the issue after seeing the receipt images on Twitter. They went on to say they were investigating the issue and thanked members of the public for bringing the issue to their attention:

manipulation and pegging of the ZW$ at 200 to 1 USD circulating on social media. Perpetrators shall be brought to book..

Thx Zim for exposing the rot.,

RBZ on Twitter

Is the RBZ really going to go after Simbisa Brands over this issue? I have my doubts that anything will come out of it. This is one of those issues that will simply falter. For starters, Simbisa is probably breaking the provisions of SI 127 of 2021 if they are indeed using a rate of $200 ZWL. The truth though is that everyone I know is breaking this law including even government-affiliated entities. If you don’t follow suit you are likely to fold as a business. Then there is the fact that Simbisa Brands is a company with a lot of pull in the political arena. Such entities tend to get away unscathed and I am willing to bet that’s what will happen. This case will simply die out eventually.