Zim dollar not about to return – Central bank

Harare – Zimbabwe’s government is looking at ways of easing the country’s cash crunch, President Robert Mugabe has said, as the central bank chief denied rumours that the Zimbabwe dollar was about to be reintroduced.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe chief John Mangudya were “looking at… strategies of reforming the banking sector and injecting liquidity in the market”, Mugabe told mourners at a state funeral on Tuesday.

He singled out a decision to encourage the use of the Chinese yuan in Zimbabwe, announced at the weekend, as a “new possibility for us”.

Authorities announced they would accept the yuan as legal tender in January last year. It was however almost never seen in shops or on the streets.

Messages circulating on social media platforms said Mugabe’s cabinet had approved the return of the Zimbabwe dollar in the form of “bond notes” and “bond coins.”

Mangudya told the Herald newspaper that the claims were unfounded and that the reintroduction of the local unit would cause panic. He refuted claims that pension payments would be made in never-before-seen “bond notes” on Wednesday.

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“In fact pensioners received their payments in US dollars yesterday,” he said.

The fear was that “bond notes”, if introduced, would resemble Zimbabwe’s much-maligned “bearer cheques”, printed in denominations of millions, billions, and trillions during the economic crisis.

“Bond coins”, all with a value of less than US1, were introduced last year in a bid to ease shortages of small change.

The private Newsday paper reported last week that a ruling Zanu-PF party MP and the speaker of Parliament had called for the return of the local currency.

Former education minister David Coltart tweeted Tuesday: “As destructive as many of Zanu-PF’s polices are, even they know how catastrophic any attempt to introduce a worthless currency would be.”

Zimbabwean consumers and retailers used to favour rand coins over bond coins. Following the fall in the value of the rand this year, many shops reject them and individuals do not want them either.




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