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Zimbabwe Cash Shortages Forcing Teachers to 'Camp' at Banks

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

FILE: In this photo taken on Tuesday, May, 3, 2016, Zimbabweans wait in a long line to withdraw cash in Harare. Severe shortages of U.S dollars that are used as local currency have forced many residents into cash hunter-gatherers.

FILE: In this photo taken on Tuesday, May, 3, 2016, Zimbabweans wait in a long line to withdraw cash in Harare. Severe shortages of U.S dollars that are used as local currency have forced many residents into cash hunter-gatherers.

Zimbabwean teachers say they are now spending a lot of time in bank queues instead of classrooms due to the current cash crisis in the country.

According to Zimbabwe Teachers Association executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu, many banks have reduced cash withdrawals to as little as $50 a day to ensure that all their clients have access to mostly the scarce American dollar.

“As you may know that tomorrow is pay day, some teachers who were queuing at banks today could not even access what they had in their banks because some of them were anticipating that their monies will be in and they would make probably last withdrawals today to accumulate some cash,” Ndlovu says.

He adds that this has affected many of their members since they have cash-dominated accounts.

The central bank has attributed the cash shortages to subdued production of various goods for export, externalization of money sourced in Zimbabwe and related issues.

It has mooted the idea of introducing bond notes or coupons to boost exports and ultimately increase money supply in the local market.

But Ndlovu says the only way to deal with the current cash crisis is through the use of plastic money, or credit cards as is the norm in other countries.

“I think Zimbabwe is the only country now that is highly liquid and we want to encourage as much as possible that we go plastic, go digital in all our transactions, save for a few of course eeh, small transactions,” Ndlovu adds.

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