By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Harare, May 05, 2016 – ORDINARY Zimbabweans on Thursday expressed concern over the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s decision to introduce bond notes in a desperate attempt to ease the current cash shortages in the country.
Cash shortages which have hit the country in the past few weeks have brought renewed fears of a possible return to the 2007 cash crisis which saw depositors spending long hours at bank entrances to access cash.
In attempts to avert a similar situation, central bank governor, John Mangudya on Wednesday said the RBZ will soon introduce local bond notes to work in tandem with the US dollar which has turned the country’s de facto currency.
Mangudya went further to put a $1000 cap on daily cash withdrawals by individuals.
Reacting to the RBZ interventions, Zimbabweans said the move brought chilling memories of the Zimbabwean dollar era which triggered spiralling inflation last recorded 2008 at over 230 million percent.
Godfrey Mlezu, a vendor in Harare’s CBD noted that the introduction of the bonds was an indirect way of reintroducing the Zimbabwean dollar which was abandoned 2009 at the inception of the country’s short lived unity government.
“Bond coin notes kuita sei kwacho? Just call it Zim-dollars,” said Mlezu when RadioVOP introduced the subject to him.
“We have walked that road before and our leaders don’t seem to learn. I wonder what makes them think it will work this time around when it has previously failed.”
Tinashe Mavhinga, a taxi driver noted that in attempts to solve the cash crisis, the government should have concentrated on encouraging locals to use plastic money.
“I think let’s move to plastic money; this is now a technological era,” he said.
“Every business, from small to big, there should be use of cards and in banks let them manage figures and not bank notes which must be kept at the Reserve Bank to maintain economic value,” he said.
Makosa Savieri, a university graduate, said the country only needed to start producing goods to address its cash woes.
“Currently, there is no production in Zimbabwe, in terms of goods; 90 per cent of people in Zimbabwe currently depend on imports. My worry is, how are people going to manage.”
Watmore Daniel, a teacher by profession, said the introduction of the currency reminded him of the 2008 cash crisis.
“It’s not going to be like 2008 but better? Because this introduction will lower the US on the market and then rands will be on demand since we are importing from South Africa,” said Daniel who is involved into chicken production.
Sizani Manala who is based in Bulawayo and is into buying and selling of cars said he feared the worst for his business, which depends a lot on the availability of foreign currency to stay afloat.
“Surely we are headed for the 2008 era because who will accept these bond notes for their goods imported by hard earned cash. I foresee the disappearance of products on the shelves as no one is willing to take bond notes,” he said.