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Will Bond Notes End Zimbabwe Cash Crisis?

  • Taurai Shava

In Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo, bank queues were shorter on Thursday than in the past few days with most of people making school fee deposits.

Most people were skeptical over the imminent introduction of bond notes saying they would worsen the current cash crisis as they appear to be similar to the dumped bearers’ cheques that were used when Zimbabwe recorded historic hyperinflation rates between 2000 and 2008.

One of the residents, who only identified himself as David, said if there is hard currency to back up the bond notes as the central bank has claimed, he does not understand why that money cannot be put into circulation to help ease cash shortages instead of printing the notes.

Policy analyst Butler Tambo of the Public Policy Research Institute of Zimbabwe said the introduction of the bond notes is in fact the reintroduction of the Zimbabwean dollar.

He said the bond notes would bring the same problems that were experienced in the past as the country’s economy has not recovered enough to support its own currency.

Despite the adoption of a multi-currency basket including the US dollar and the South African rand, Zimbabwe has continued to experience cash shortages as a result of a continuing economic crisis, which has resulted in lack of confidence in the banking sector.

Meanwhile, an audit team from the Ministry of Local Government has started investigating the financial affairs of the Bulawayo City Council following recent claims that some councilors had corruptly acquired stands.

Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo confirmed today that a 7-member team from the Ministry of Local Government started its investigations two days ago.

The Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association recently petitioned Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere to investigate allegations of corruption levelled against the council.

Councillor Moyo said a letter from the local government ministry, showed that the investigations would focus on four main areas, including the allocation of a residential stand to deputy mayor Gift Banda, the allocation of stands to councilors since 2013 as well as the situation at Ingwebu Breweries, the council’s opaque beer manufacturing and retail subsidiary.

“We don’t keep skeletons in our cupboards. I mean if there is any corruption that is happening it has not been detected and if I have not detected it that means I don’t know about it, so, I have said even to the investigating team that we have nothing to hide.”

The council is expected to pay the costs of the investigation totaling $18,350.

Kasukuwere has in the past suspended some councilors and officials in cities like Gweru and Harare claiming that they violated certain provisions of the Urban Councils Act. Opposition parties have dismissed his moves as some kind of political grandstanding.

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