Anxiety As Govt Maintains Secrecy Around Bond Note Features

By Dumisani Nyoni

Bulawayo, November 24, 2016 – THE amount of secrecy surrounding the imminent introduction of bond notes has brought a lot of anxiety among residents in the country’s second largest city with many accusing authorities of being insincere.

This comes after Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya has adamantly refused to disclose the features of the notes, even after saying the new currency will start circulating in a matter of days from now.

Mangudya fears some Zimbabweans would start printing fake notes to coincide with the eventual release of the bond notes to confuse the transacting public.

The central bank chief has also kept under wraps, the place where the notes were being printed fearing some locals who were against their introduction could go and lobby the countries to abandon production.

The so-called surrogate currency is expected to be released into the market next week as part of a government’s ostensible attempts to ease liquidity challenges, promote domestic production and exports.

It is the norm that authorities have to educate the transacting public on the features of any new currency before its release through visual images but Zimbabwean authorities have had other thoughts.

Instead, they have launched a campaign via print and electronic media urging locals to welcome the currency as it will be at par with the US dollar.

“This is unbelievable! Since time immemorial features of any notes or coins were released and the public schooled on them before they were released. What has changed now?” said one Mthokozisi Tshuma, a Bulawayo resident.

Tshuma said this has caused more unease among locals who feel the central bank was taking them for granted.

“So where are they being printed? What are they afraid of, because it seems they are so scared about this bond headache of theirs? Mangudya has made us doubt them before even being released. This is already a negative statement about the so called bond whatever,” Mlamuleli Nkomo added.

“What I know is that if there is new money coming into the market, people by now should be having some basic awareness of the features and the media will be helping people to know the features. So Mangudya means there won’t be any basic education on this? I smell a rat here.”

Dumisani Nkomo, a social commentator, said the government should come out in the open about the new currency in the interest of public confidence.

“It is in the public interest for people to know the features of the bond notes and the central bank should advertise them. Failure to that, it will erode people’s confidence and they will refuse to transact using them,” he said.