Mnangagwa’s Son Rejects ZiG Currency for Passport Printing Services He Owns The Govt Tender
14 May 2024
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Zimbabwe’s Deputy Finance Minister Rejects Local Currency for Passport Fees Amid State Capture Concerns

By Farai D Hove | At a time the First Family owns the passport printing tender, Zimbabwe’s ongoing economic narrative, Deputy Minister of Finance, David Mnangagwa, has rejected the local currency, ZiG, named after his father, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, for the payment of passport fees. This development came to light during a heated Senate session where Senator Meliwe Phuti questioned the rationale behind the insistence on foreign currency payments for passports.

David Mnangagwa’s response underscored the complexities of public-private partnerships and the government’s commitment to uphold contracts with foreign investors. “The social contract and the mechanics around it are being discussed. It is a sensitive area that we don’t want to rush or expediently go to without having spoken to all the stakeholders,” he explained. The Deputy Minister highlighted the government’s view of the sanctity of contracts as sacrosanct, suggesting a careful approach to any changes in the agreed terms.

The controversy centers around the fees for electronic passports, which are set in foreign currency. The Lithuanian company, Garsu Pasaulis, which established the electronic passport system in Zimbabwe, has been pinpointed as a key player in this agreement. According to Mnangagwa, the arrangement includes clauses that necessitate payment in foreign currency, ostensibly to allow the investor to recoup the initial investment.

Critics argue that this move could suggest possible collusion and even state capture, as the local currency continues to face severe devaluation and instability. Stakeholders express concern that prioritizing foreign currency could undermine the ZiG and exacerbate the economic challenges facing ordinary Zimbabweans.

The debate over currency usage for government services highlights broader issues of governance and economic management in Zimbabwe. As discussions continue, stakeholders from various sectors are keenly watching the government’s next steps in addressing these pivotal economic and social contracts.