The long arm of Statutory Instrument 127 of 2021 (SI 127 of 2021) has reached one of Zimbabwe’s biggest retailers. In a memo to all branches, OK Zimbabwe will not be accepting USD payments because of the separation of receipts provision under SI 127 of 2021.
To: All Branches
Att: All Branches, Financial Services, FInance, Operations Managers
From: Business Information Systems
Ref #: CNGEFX/05/21
REF: ACCEPTANCE OF FOREIGN CURRENCY AS A PAYMENT OPTION
This memorandum serves to inform all branches that as a result of Statutory Instrument 127 of 2021, they can no longer accept foreign currency as a payment option at the tills, effective immediately. Our receipts at the tills are not yet in compliance with the SI which states that inter alia, a seller of goods or services is not allowed to issue a buyer thereof a receipt in Zimbabwe dollars for payment received in foreign currency, to record sales other than in the currency in which the sale was conducted.
OK Zimbabwe is buying and selling foreign currency, through our RBZ licenced bureau de changes branches, therefore, branches are advised to encourage customers intending to purchase at the till with foreign currency to sell their forex at the bureau as we are offering much better rate than at the tills.OK Zimbabwe
This memo will also extend to its subsidiaries, Bon Marche and OK Mart
The first part about SI 127 of 2021 and receipts is pretty straightforward but also highlights the fact that businesses weren’t given enough time to calibrate their purchase points.
Secondly, this memo shows OK Zimbabwe’s privileged position when it comes to adjusting to SI 127 of 2021. As mentioned above, some OK supermarkets have Bureaux de Change in house and, as branches were directed, can divert customers there to change USD into local currency.
This is something that not all retailers have and many customers will be forced to either abandon their groceries or go out and find a money changer and get the USD converted at the black market rate.
Lastly, the fact that OK Zimbabwe has Bureaux de Change puts them at an unfair advantage (in the wake of SI 127 of 2021). What I mean by this is that they can buy up USD from customers (who are willing) for local currency making a profit off that as well as the wares/groceries those same customers will buy in OK’s supermarkets.
It should be noted that what OK is doing isn’t illegal. It’s just that they are at a far better position than most businesses, which are some of the nuances that the government seems to overlook when it institutes these sweeping reforms…