Zimbabwe

Bond notes 'aren't meeting cash demand': Zim fin minister

2016-12-01 13:48
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Harare - Zimbabwe's finance minister Patrick Chinamasa says he knows that brand-new "bond notes" aren't meeting the demand for cash, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

Chinamasa told parliament that Zimbabweans' needs for cash "will be met in due course", the Chronicle reported.

President Robert Mugabe's central bank injected 10 million "bond notes" and two million "bond coins" into the system starting Monday, to local and international criticism.

Advertised as a bid to stimulate exports, bond notes are a surrogate currency just as Zimbabwe's bearer cheques were from 2003 to 2009. Overprinting back then sparked hyperinflation and widespread shortages: the central bank insists that will not happen this time.

Seventy-five million bond notes (officially at parity with the US) are due to be put into the system by the end of the year. 

Long queues 

"We're aware that the 12 million bond notes issued aren't meeting demand. The RBZ didn't want to create a situation that was inflationary," Chinamasa was quoted as saying. 

In the last two days, at least one bank has cut the amount of US they are allowing customers to take per day - although the amount of bond notes remains the same. One well-known high street bank - which is also present in South Africa - was allowing withdrawals of $100 and 25 take-it-or-leave-it bond notes on Monday, albeit with long queues. 

By Wednesday the limit had dropped to $50, but still 25 worth of bond notes. Plastic and online payments are an option for some (but far from all) transactions in Zimbabwe.

The privately-owned Newsday said the minister vowed to "punish shops found rejecting the bond notes".

Police have not given permission for the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to hold anti bond note marches on Thursday.  A small protest in central Harare on Wednesday was quickly broken up by police with water cannons on Wednesday.

Read more on:    patrick chinamasa  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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