Zimbabwe is experiencing serious shortages of the South African rand and Chinese yuan as the country attempted Monday to shift to these currencies to address the current critical shortages of cash, especially the United States dollar.
Bank queues are now the order of the day in a nation with a fast declining economy due to subdued industrial production, low exports, lack of foreign direct investment and other issues.
Several banks started dispensing the South African and Chinese currencies in banking halls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) but the banking public complained that accessing the money was not easy.
One of the depositors, Simon Mugwagwa said he spent the better of the day in a queue trying to withdraw cash but to no avail.
This was echoed by Tecla Zinyowera, who noted that she could not get either the South African rands or the Chinese yuan, in the banking hall and ATMs. She said that the Botswana Pula and the British Pounds were also not accessible, adding that those currencies would be difficult to use in her daily errands.
Another depositor, Garikai Murendo, said he managed to withdraw some rands and yuans but most retailers were not accepting those currencies, preferring the US dollar.
Some banking staff, who refused to speak on tape, said they failed to dispense the rand, yuan and other currencies because they were in short supply at their branches. Some other bankers, who had accessed the rand and yuan, said they could also not transact because they had not been advised of the exchange rates by the central bank.
Central bank governor John Mangudya had initially asked Studio 7 to contact him for comment but he was not reachable on his mobile phone at the time of going on air.
However, the central bank chief told the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper that the dispensing of multiple currencies would help in easing the ongoing shortages that started when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced its plans to introduce bond notes.
The RBZ’s proposal is being rejected by many Zimbabweans who say that authorities are planning to re-introduce the Zimbabwean currency through the back door.