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Zim ministry says it is illegal for firms to charge US dollars for products

This comes after drinks manufacturer Delta Corporation said that from Friday it would only accept hard currency for its beer and soft drinks.

FILE: A man holds bond notes released by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in Harare central business centre on 28 November 2016. Picture: AFP

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s Industry Minister says that it is illegal for local companies to charge US dollars for their products after the country’s main drinks manufacturer said its beer and soft drinks will from Friday only be sold for foreign currency.

Zimbabwe’s economy is US-dollar based but the scarcity of hard currency means that most people use mobile money or debit cards to make their purchases.

Economists say Zimbabwe’s economy is slowly and unofficially re-dollarising, despite the introduction three years ago of local bond notes that were given one to one status with the US dollar.

The one to one parity no longer exists and some shops and businesses offer significant discounts for real US dollars.

On Wednesday, drinks manufacturer Delta Corporation said that from Friday it would only accept hard currency for its beer and soft drinks.

Industry Minister Nqobizitha Ndlovu says Delta’s decision is illegal, and against the spirit of fairness.

The minister has told state media that the law will take its course if the practice doesn’t stop.