Letter to the Editor

Traders still quoting goods in US dollar

Dear editor,
IT HAS been repeatedly said that trading in foreign currencies in Zambia is illegal. To the contrary, some traders, particularly those owning shopping malls, quote the rentals in dollars, something which violates Zambian laws regarding trading. In a nutshell, the legal currency in Zambia is the kwacha.
The tenants who rent shops and offices at most shopping malls are disadvantaged in most instances. This is because the exchange rate between the Kwacha and other major convertible currencies, particularly the dollar, keeps on fluctuating.
However, this is the case due to depreciation and appreciation of the kwacha against other foreign currencies. When the Kwacha depreciates, the tenants pay high rentals to their respective landlords. On the other hand, any appreciation of the Kwacha will ultimately benefit the tenants as they will pay slightly less amount of rentals.
A Statutory Instrument (SI) that stipulates that both Zambian and foreign entrepreneurs to trade in the local currencies should be enforced as long as the business transaction takes place in Zambia. If it is already there, then it needs to be intensified because the tenants who pay rentals in foreign currencies have been exploited for quite some time through this mode of payment. All things being equal, the government should come to the rescue of these tenants by ending the scourge.
This can be done by ensuring that landlords who own shopping malls charge rentals in kwacha. Transacting business in foreign currencies is illegal and as such, traders who abrogate this law should face the wrath of the law.
ELEMIYA PHIRI
Lusaka

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