The Zimbabwean national government has for some items been charging foreign currency even during the times when it was forcing everyone else to charge in Zimbabwean dollars. Now Harare City Council also wants the privilege of quoting some of their services in USD. Residents will then have the option to pay for the service at whatever rate is prevailing on the day settlement is made.

Council authorises the town clerk and the acting finance director to quote lease rentals as well as land purchase prices in a stable currency with the actual payments being made in prevailing equivalent official interbank rate at the date of the actual payment.

Minutes from a recent council meeting

According to the Herald the city council will soon approach the national government with this proposal. After all what is good for the goose is good for the gander-right? The instinct to want to quote services in US dollars is quite understandable. The Zimbabwean dollar is a worthless currency, whether the national authorities admit it or not. In a year it has went from US$1: $3.5 ZWL to unfathomable depths of US $1: $95 (or $68.89 if you want to believe the government’s auction). This has the effect of undermining any budgeting efforts made in Zimbabwean dollars.

There are certain areas that without US dollar, cannot be run efficiently including water treatment chemicals and fuel purchases.

Town Clerk Chisango on the issue

Indeed chemical shortages resulting from foreign currency shortages were often blamed for water shortages in Harare. Often the central government was forced to step in and provide foreign currency through the RBZ. However, this is not the only operation affected by lack of foreign currency. Refuse collection has been erratic for more than 12 months due to fuel shortages. Now fuel is sold almost exclusively in foreign currency. This has resulted in operations requiring fuel and other aspects of service delivery suffering.

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