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RBZ tipped on ‘new currency’

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has to rope in key stakeholders such as the retail and transport sectors if bond notes are to be accepted, analysts said last week.

BY OUR STAFF

RBZ is set to introduce bond notes next month under a $200 million export incentive facility guaranteed by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). The facility will give a 5% incentive to exporters in the form of bond notes.

“The retail and transport sectors are the ones that give the bond notes a seal of approval. If they reject them, the plan will be doomed,” an economist with a leading commercial bank said last week.

“It’s the same fears people had when bond coins were introduced. There was so much scepticism but in the end people accepted the coins.

“People will test the bond notes in supermarkets and commuter omnibuses. If the notes are accepted, the fears will wilt away.”

Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe senior researcher Prosper Chitambara said the central bank needed to carry out an intensive public relations exercise to educate the people on how the bond notes are expected to work.

“There are uncertainties in the market and deposits are on a decline as people are stampeding to withdraw all their money from the banks. Most people are no longer comfortable keeping their money in the bank,” he said.

Another local analyst said when Gideon Gono was at the helm of RBZ, the central bank used to communicate a lot with the members of the public, something he said was the missing link ahead of the introduction of bond notes.

“We don’t want a situation where we have empty vaults and where banks run out of cash. Social media has been far ahead of the central bank in disseminating information on bond notes,” the analyst said.

While RBZ governor John Mangudya insists that bond notes are meant to incentivise exporters, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the country needed a currency “we can control and circulate within”.

Afreximbank’s head of communications Obi Emekekwue told Standardbusiness last week that only RBZ was able to answer any enquiries on the bond notes.

“We recommend that you refer any questions you have in respect of Zimbabwe’s monetary policy to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as they are the appropriate authority to discuss them,” Emekekwue said.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Busisa Moyo has said there is no need for industry to separate bond notes for purposes of transacting or accounting.

Moyo said the talk of mopping up US$ by discounting the face value of bond notes was not likely to gain traction as goods would be priced in US$ values in shops and the bond holder would rather purchase goods than incur a discount on hard earned money.

“There will be one till but separate ‘tallys’ for bond notes as they have been recorded clearly like pula and rand payments,” he said.

“The tally of each currency denomination is always reconciled for accounting control purposes, so we will continue to do so.

“Bond notes will be marked as such on receipts and reconciled to bond notes on hand.”

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Takunda Mugaga said they could not comment as the industry lobby group would be having a breakfast meeting later this month to discuss how the bond notes were expected to work.

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