JUST IN: Depositors fail to get new bank notes

12 Novembre, 2019, 11:22 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • The RBZ was expected to circulate new $2 and $5 notes to ease liquidity challenges

The dearth of cash, along with shortages of staple goods exacerbated by a long drought, has crippled the economy, sending inflation - which economists estimate is running at 380% year-on-year - to its highest since 2008.

LONG queues resurfaced at banks in Bulawayo on Monday morning as depositors hoped to withdraw the new Zimbabwean dollar notes as promised by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The apex bank had said new $2 and $5-dollar notes and $2 coins would start circulating today.

"We now think we may get the cash on Tuesday".

John Mangudya, the central bank governor, didn't immediately respond to calls seeking comment on the delay in the release of notes. "People have been calling all day to inquire whether they can come to make withdrawals", an executive at a foreign-owned bank said.

In 2008, hyperinflation wiped out many Zimbabweans' pensions and savings and forced the southern African country to dump the Zimbabwe dollar currency.

The government hopes the new notes - which will have the same denominations as bond notes now in circulation - will help end the cash crunch, bring down inflation and speed up the restoration of the long-neglected domestic currency.

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The government unexpectedly re-introduced the Zimbabwe dollar in June to end a decade of dollarisation.

The RBZ is expected over the next six months to inject cash amounting to around ZWL$1.1 billion, nearly 10 percent of the total money supply, to deal with the prevailing cash shortages. "What do you do with 5 dollars?" said Rachel Mandeya, a 28-year-old street foreign currency trader.

That larger issue includes foreign currency shortages, lack of foreign investment, inflation and lack of consumer confidence in policy.

ZBC News crew visited the central bank in Harare and witnessed cash delivery vans queuing to collect their consignment.

Many businesses discount prices by up to 40% for customers paying cash and charge more for those using mobile money or bank cards.

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