The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on Friday said it could not give a date when the promised bond notes would be introduced as the cash crisis gripping the country worsens, with established banks reducing withdrawal limits.
BY BUSINESS REPORTER
RBZ governor John Mangudya early this month announced that the central bank would introduce the bond notes with denominations ranging from between $5 and $20 backed by a $200 million facility from the African Export-Import Bank.
The notes, like bond coins introduced in 2014 to ease the shortage of smaller denominations, will be pegged to the US dollar.
Mangudya’s announcement, although it was met with a lot of scepticism, had raised hopes the cash shortages that have seen depositors struggling to access their savings, would be alleviated in the short-term.
However, the central bank governor who was attending African Development Bank meetings in Lusaka, Zambia said the bond notes solution will not come “overnight”.
“Procurement of bond notes is also a process. It is a long process,” he said.
“It starts with designing, origination and printing. It’s not an overnight thing that’s why I said they will be introduced in the future. [There was] no time frame.
“The minimum time it takes to procure such security documents is between four and five months.”
Mangudya said international financial institutions were also assessing the move to introduce the bond notes as Zimbabwe was undergoing economic reforms that enjoyed their backing.
A fortnight ago, the RBZ said it had imported cash worth $15 million to ease the liquidity crisis but the relief appeared to be short-lived as queues began to resurface at most banks last week.
Mangudya said the central bank would continue to import cash to meet demand.
Some established banks that had been giving depositors the maximum $1 000 withdrawal limit stipulated by the RBZ had severely cut down on the allocation.
Stanbic Bank on Friday sent account holders messages informing them that it had since reduced the withdrawal limit to $300 from $500.
Financial institutions are also trying to encourage their clients to use plastic money, but uptake has been slow.
RBZ insists the bond notes would be introduced to support an incentive scheme for exporters to kick-start the ailing economy.
According to the bank, exporters would get a 5% incentive.
Bond notes are also meant to curb the externalisation of cash and revive the multi-currency system following fears that currencies such as the South African rand were no longer being utilised due to the strength of the US dollar.