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ZiG notes, coins stutter onto market

The Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) bank notes and coins were rolled out yesterday with several banks failing to satisfy demand while the general public expressed caution over the new currency introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) early last month.

A snap survey conducted by NewsDay yesterday indicated that the majority of banks had no cash fuelling scepticism among the banking public which had waited for close to a month for the notes and coins.

NewsDay established that banks were only issuing coins and ZIG10 notes.

The highest denomination is ZiG200.

Farmers and traders at the populous Mbare Market in Harare said they were anxiously waiting for the ZiG notes and coins.

“We have not yet transacted using the ZiG as we wait for those with bank accounts to withdraw the money and use it when transacting with us,” a vendor said.

A farmer, however, said the notes and coins would bring convenience to the market.

“We have been struggling with change to an extent where we were giving people some extra produce to compensate for cents,” he said.

“We are, however, yet to see how this is going to play but I believe it is going to be helpful.”

Zimbabweans who failed to access the ZiG from automated teller machines expressed concern over the new currency, highlighting trust issues over its value.

“I haven’t seen the new currency on the streets yet, and as for me it will take time for me to adjust. I do not think I will accept the ZiG if I am given it as change on the commuter omnibus,” one woman said.

Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president Lawrence Nyazema said the banks received the notes and coins yesterday.

“They (RBZ) said the notes and coins are coming, for now let us use what we have been using until we have the money,” he said.

Nyazema cautioned against panic among the transacting public over the recently released currency.

“We do not need to go back to the situation where we were with the currency losing value over speculative motives,” he said.

The ZiG replaces the Zimdollar that had continually lost value since its reintroduction by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2019.

Authorities have said the ZiG is backed by gold and foreign currency reserves.

The ZiG is currently trading at a rate of 14:00 against US$1.

In a statement after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, RBZ governor John Mushayavanhu said the committee had noted that the 2024 Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) was well received by the market.

“Preliminary indications since the announcement of the MPS show that the markets have been fairly stable.

“In this regard, the MPC affirmed its commitment to the consolidation of these positive sentiments and ensure a quick restoration of confidence, trust and anchoring of inflation expectations,” he said.

“The MPC will proactively review the monetary policy measures in line with exchange rate and inflation developments,” he said.

Mushayavanhu said the MPC directed RBZ to ensure there is effective communication on the new structured currency, ZiG, which cover the whole country to ensure there is financial inclusion.

“The Reserve Bank was also directed to ensure that, at all times, any growth in reserve money is fully covered by reserves, in the form of gold, other precious minerals and foreign currency balances in the Reserve Bank’s nostro account,” he said.

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