LEGISLATORS have raised concern on the astronomical fees charged to obtain a license required for one to operate a bureau de change.
The operating license costs $100 000 and this has contributed to the large presence of illegal foreign currency dealers on the streets.
In 2017, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) invited individuals and businesses interested in operating bureau de change to register with the monetary authority.
The Central bank said there were a limited number of licensed bureau de change outlets in the country with the majority of urban centers, ports of entry or exit having no formal bureau de change services.
“We have heard people saying it is a problem to obtain the license to operate a bureau de change because for you to obtain the license, you have to pay $100 thousand and very few people can access it,” Kwekwe legislator, Masango “Blackman” Matambanadzo said in Parliament recently
He said the fees had to be reduced to enable the youth, a majority who were unemployed to access the licenses.
“What is now obtaining is that we have now created street money changers involving especially the unemployed youths. I think we need to make it official for the youngsters to access the license, the fees should be lowered,” the legislator noted.
Matambanadzo even offered to have face to face meetings with the relevant minister and suggest ideas how to lessen the fees and expedite the process.
“In order for this process to be expedited, is it possible for me to hold a face to face meeting with the Minister so that I can give more information on the lessening of the burden of acquiring the bureau de change operating licenses,” he said.
In response, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said his ministry would conduct inter-ministerial discussions to lobby for fees reduction regarding the bureau de change licenses.
He acknowledged that at the moment, the license fees were exorbitant and only a few people can afford them.
Meanwhile, Ziyambi insisted that money changers on the streets were still illegal and that since parliament set laws on money exchange, the house was the one that decided on the currency exchange rate.
“The laws regarding the operations of the money changers or bureau de change are guided by Parliament because Parliament is responsible for making laws. As far as we are concerned, the rates are tabled by Parliament. That is why we are saying, some of the operations are illegal and we are saying, these illegal street money changers are illegal.
“They are not supposed to be operating in the streets. They are breaking the law. We are sure that the Ministry of Home Affairs which is responsible for maintaining law and order should be arresting the illegal money vendors or money changers”.
This was after Mutasa Central MP, Trevor Saruwaka asked if the rampant money changers were now legal, as they are now a common feature on the streets.
“My supplementary question is what are the street money vendors still illegal or they are now official. I am asking this question because when the new dispensation came in, these people were cleared from the streets and what is obtaining now is they are now all over the place. It seems as if they have been given licenses to operate as they like because they are now back on the streets,” he said.