Zimbabwe black market money traders are back in business as inflation threatens bond notes

Bond Note has less value vs $US

Charles Mabhena

Bond Notes: The Zimbabwe Republic Police have been deployed in the streets of Harare to keep an eye on the operations of money changers, as a way to try and stop the traders from trading in the newly introduced bond notes, amid reports that the surrogate currency has already been traded in at rates lower than the (1:1) value claimed by government.

When ZimNews.net took to the streets, yesterday some members of the police force could be seen dotted around popular money changers hot spots.

At road port it was cat and mouse affair, as money changers tried to avoid being arrested. One of them who identified herself as Mai Takudzwa says their job has once again become a mined field. “Since the abolishment of the local currency a few years ago, we have been trading in forex without a problem, but as soon as the bond notes were introduced, the police have been deployed in full force to ruthlessly deal with us. We are only trying to survive, but doing so is now a dangerous venture,” she says.

She adds that money changing is a normal practice world over, but the difference with Zimbabwe’s situation is lack of production capacity, the failing by the companies to export and secure enough foreign currency. “I urge the government to solve the economy, and all these other purported ills will self correct. No currency anywhere in the world can flourish when there is de-industrialisation, money need to be backed by the production, otherwise we will soon find ourselves walking down the same road again as 2008,” she adds.

Another forex dealer who is based at the Eastgate Mall, Clinton Banda says it is true that the police were now after them. “It is now back to square one as before (2008 era) the police have once again criminalise our operations since the introduction of the bond notes. I personally haven’t traded in it yet, but they have just descended on us as they cannot differentiate who is dealing in them and who is not,” he says.

During the ZimNews.net crew tour of the city, money traders could be seen playing hide and seek with the law enforcement agency. Popular hot spots include outside the branches of the Roadport bus terminus, Eastgate Mall, along 1st street and near ‘Mukuru’ branches (mukuru is a money sending platform similar to Homelink or Western Union).

The bond notes which is said to be pegged at par with the United States dollar according to the central bank seem to have already started suffering ‘death in its infancy’ as reports of it being cross rated prop up, fears are that this may cause inflation as it loses value.

According to the government, bond notes were alleged to be inflation ‘bullet proof’ as they are said to be backed by a US$200 million facility from the Afreximbank. Prior to their introduction, the road travelled by the bonds was marred by clashes as analysts warn of its losing value, its illegality, and so on.