Medical Aid Industry Representative Body Optimistic About Zig Currency

By Michael Gwarisa

The Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ), the representative body for the medical aid industry in the country, has thrown its weight behind the newly introduced Zimbabwe Gold (Zig).

The new endorsement comes in the wake of mixed reactions following the introduction of the currency, with some players in the medical aid industry raising fears around the sustainability and continuity of the Zig currency since it was launched through a Statutory Instrument (Statutory Instrument 60 of 2024), which in most cases has a shorter shelf life.

In an interview with HealthTimes during a breakfast meeting to discuss the new Monetary Policy, AHFoZ Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ms Shylet Sanyanga said even though it was too early to predict the performance of the Zig currency, they were hopeful it would work for the medial aid industry.

As an industry, we might still be trying to understand the implications of the introduction of the currency but we are optimistic that our medical aid societies can go out there and market their products, and the consumers will be able to choose and buy products using whatever currency they have at their disposal,” said Ms Sanyanga.

Owing to the volatility of the local currencies that have been introduced in the past, there are concerns that medical aid players might reject the new Zig preferring the United States Dollar and the Zig could still face the same fate as its predecessor currencies.

“I would encourage all users and all members of the public and all prospective consumers and the medical aid sector to accept the new currency because it is our currency and if we don’t use it, it cannot be successful and we cannot succeed as a country if we do not embrace our currency. I think we should give it a chance. I know most of the time people will be saying things don’t work and so forth but we are the people who should make an effort to make it work.”

The issue of confidence in the new currency has been a topical of late with most economists arguing that it would be difficult to embrace the Zig given the low confidence people have in local currencies.

Meanwhile, Professor Tony Howkins, a leading Economist in Zimbabwe believes it would be difficult to convince medical aid players and consumers to embrace the Zig given the chequered history Zimbabwe’s local currencies have.

“I suspect that in things like medical aid contributions and so forth, people are going to stick to the US dollar,” said Professor Howkins.

“We don’t know how long it is going to last. We have had six currencies in the last eight years and then we have got another one now. To convince a person to accept Zig because it has got a backing of gold behind will be difficult. The medical industry is a business and requires and stable and reliable currency.”

He also raised concern over the inflation rate and prevailing political environment which he says erodes confidence in any currency despite how noble they might appear.






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