Zim central bank axes staff

Harare - Zimbabwe's central bank laid off three-quarters of its workforce - more than 1 400 employees - on Friday to cut costs, state media reported.

"At least 1 455 Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe employees, representing 75% of the staff, will leave the institution today in the single largest retrenchment undertaken in this country since independence," The Herald newspaper said.

The move - which will cost the bank $70m - follows recommendations that the central back, which had undertaken various quasi-fiscal projects, revert to its core business.

"The sad thing though is that this realignment is resulting in the loss of jobs," the newspaper quoted bank chief Gideon Gono as saying.

"What we have done is to realign the bank in line with the wishes of the legislature."

The affected workers will initially get $5 000 each, with the balance to be paid in the coming months.

The mass retrenchment will leave the bank with 493 workers out of 1 948.

Gono was widely blamed for presiding over rampant printing of Zimbabwe's local dollar, which reached astronomical denominations until it was abandoned in 2009.

His post remains one of the major sticking points in the unity government between veteran President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
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