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Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Boosts Daily Cash Withdrawal Limit

Under pressure to relieve an acute cash shortage just weeks after redenominating the currency and issuing new banknotes, Zimbabwe's central bank was to increase the limit on how much money consumers can take out of their bank accounts on a daily basis.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted officials at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as saying the limit would be raised Monday to Z$20,000 a day from Z$1,000 - an amount that is barely enough to pay for one day's commuter transport to and from work.

Though the Reserve Bank is constrained in its ability to print more money because its former German supplier of banknote paper cut it off some months ago under pressure from European authorities who have imposed sanctions on Harare, economists say the main reason for the shortage of notes is hyperinflation running well over an official 11 million percent.

The move by the central bank followed a threat this week by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to launch an unspecified national labor action if the Reserve Bank did not take action to relieve the plight of cash-strapped consumers by Oct. 1.

On Friday, prime minister-designate and Movement for Democratic Change founder Morgan Tsvangirai visited banks in Harare’s central business district to consult informally with consumers waiting in long queues to draw cash.

As correspondent Sylvia Manika of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported, Tsvangirai was enthusiastically greeted by the fatigued bank customers.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...