Maputo — The government of Angonia district, in the western Mozambican province of Tete, has just banned the use of foreign currency - notably the Malawian kwacha - in the sale of Mozambican goods.
The district administrator, Paulo Sebastiao, speaking to reporters on Saturday, confirmed the ban on the use of the kwacha.
“We took this measure to safeguard the interests of the producers, who work on the fields, and in return receive kwachas, which are of low value, when compared with our own currency, the metical”, he said.
Sebastiao said that the Malawian buyers enter Mozambique, particularly Angonia, to purchase agricultural products. “They entice our peasants with many kwacha notes which are worthless in comparison with our metical”, he added, “and, because of their lack of knowledge, our producers end up receiving the foreign currency. We are reversing this situation because it is damaging our fellow citizens”.
He said the district government is training inspectors who have the task of raising awareness among producers near the border so that they know how to sell their produce (such as maize, beans and potatoes) for a proper price.
Trade in kwachas along the border has been going on for decades and is unlikely to stop just because of a government dictate. The border is highly porous, and if the district government inspectors make life difficult for farmers inside Mozambique, there is nothing to stop them simply walking over the border and selling their produce inside Malawi.
As for the supposed worthlessness of the kwacha, at Monday's exchange rates, published by the Bank of Mozambique, there are about 86 meticais to the kwacha.