Stakeholders in the tobacco and mining industry say the recent riots experienced at the tobacco auction floors over payment issues is a wakeup call that requires government and the various arms to stage an all encompassing conference that shall iron out some of the sticky areas that might destroy the country’s biggest foreign currency earners.
According to Mr Jeffery Takawira who is the executive director of Tobacco Industry Development Support Institute for Southern Africa, scenes like what was experienced recently at the auction floors where riot police had to be called in, can be averted if people put their ideas together and serve the sector.
“Tobacco is a cash crop which brings money and so where is the problem? We are saying let’s have a bank for this sector to enable it to transact without any hindrances,” he said.
The government through the central bank last month announced that farmers can withdraw US$1000 for the initial sale of their crop and US$500 in subsequent sales but most banks are failing to meet the demand prompting farmers to be angered by the financial institutions.
For small scale gold miners who have had the privilege to get in the region of US$10 000 for every sale from Fidelity Printers, the problem now is the refinery company sometimes fail to raise cash for supplies, a situation that could trigger leakages of the precious metal, says the spokesperson of the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation Mr Desmond Mangisi.
The central bank has identified gold miners and tobacco farmers as being the biggest stakeholders responsible for the foreign currency generation in the country due to the ready demand of their commodities on the international markets.