Zimbabweans are forming long queues outside banks amid a cash shortage that has prompted the government to announce plans to print a local version of the US dollar and to limit withdrawals.
The government adopted US and South African currencies in 2009 after hyperinflation rendered the national currency unusable as the economy collapsed.
A recent shortage of foreign notes led Reserve Bank Governor John Mangudya to unveil a raft of radical measures on Wednesday, including limiting withdrawals to $1,000 or 20,000 South African rand per day.
John Mangudya Governor Zimbabwe Reserve Bank: ‘The central bank would also print its own dollar-equivalent bond notes – “which are currently at the design stage” – to ease the cash crunch.’
Mangudya said that the central bank would also print its own dollar-equivalent bond notes – “which are currently at the design stage” – to ease the cash crunch.
Mangudya denied the new banknotes were a step towards re-introducing the tarnished Zimbabwe dollar, but the plan was still criticised by some experts.
“This is extremely damaging to the interests of everyone and very dangerous to the economy,” independent economist John Robertson said in Harare.
“It won’t be long before this becomes another inflation story. People will refuse to be paid their wages in bond notes.
“Shops will not accept them as they cannot be used to restock [from abroad]. I am hoping that the government can be talked out of it.”
Bond coins were introduced in Zimbabwe in 2014 to tackle the problem of small change.
The new notes in denominations of $2, $5, $10 and $20 will play a similar role, acting as tokens.