Tough test for ZiG as schools open

Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro

THE Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) currency will this week face an acid test against the United States dollar as schools prepare to open for the 2024 second term.

Parents and guardians intending to pay school fees for the second term in local currency are currently stranded as schools have not yet given them the green light to pay using the new ZiG currency.

There are also indications that schools are reluctant to regularise their point-of-sale machines to facilitate ZiG transactions.

This has forced many parents to hunt for the US dollar on the parallel market. However, the clampdown on money changers is complicating matters for them.

As the crackdown against illegal foreign currency dealers escalates, the US dollar is now trading at 1:21 against ZiG on the parallel market with the dealers citing the high risks associated with the practice.

Schools open next week and parents and guardians are already paying fees, but they havedecried the failure of school authorities to open platforms for them to be able to pay in ZiG which replaced the Zimdollar early last month after it lost three-quarters of its value to inflation this year.

Schools pegged fees in United States dollars when they closed last term to hedge against the depreciating Zimdollar.

NewsDay established that while schools are not openly rejecting payment of school fees in ZiG, most have not yet given parents the opportunity to pay in the local currency.

Most schools have not yet provided their local currency bank accounts to parents for them to be able to make deposits in ZiG, resulting in parents paying exclusively in US dollars.

“I want to pay in ZiG, but I can’t pay because I do not have the means,” a guardian, Fidelicy Makonde, told NewsDay.

“The school has not rejected the local currency payment, but it has not yet provided the banking details for me to make the payment.”

Another parent from Harare, Yemurai Magarezano, said she could not pay the fees in ZiG because they were not pegged in that currency.

She said: “Even if I wanted to pay using ZiG, I do not know the amount I have to pay to the school, so I have no option but to pay in United States dollars. The school has not yet provided the ZiG amounts.”

Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro called on schools to provide the necessary details.

“The ministry’s position is clear that it is the right of every parent to be provided with the banking details of the local currency account of the school,” he said.

Zimbabwe National Union of School Heads secretary-general Munyaradzi Majoni said schools were not rejecting payment in ZiG, but they were still regularising modalities for parents to be able to pay in the local currency.

“Schools are accepting ZiG, but we have not yet assessed the full situation as schools are yet to open,” Majoni said.

“Most schools are yet to regularise their point-of-sale machine systems so that parents can pay in ZiG.

“But at the moment most parents are preferring to pay in United States dollars, but we will be assessing the full situation when school re-open because most parents will pay fees as soon as their children are in school.”

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