Zimbabwe about to milk US deposits from people’s bank accounts?
The law that will facilitate the introduction of the bond notes in Zimbabwe was promulgated recently, under the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act, though this has already stirred debates in the legal circles, according to the government the establishment of the law, means the legal framework for the roll out of the token money.
With the coming of the bond currency now seemingly inevitable, Zim News went down the streets of Harare to gauge the mood of the general citizenry.
Edwin Madze is a vendor who sells roasted green mealies at corner Chiremba Road and Glenara Road, east of Harare’s Central Business District, who says as he sees it, the way the government is talking about the bond notes issue leaves a lot to be desired.
“There seems to be something fishy about this whole thing, from all the adverts being circulated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the only information being given is that the notes will be used as an incentive on exports and remittances received from the Diaspora, and nothing about the features, etc, as was with the bearer cheques era,” he says.
He says looking into the issue closely the trick by the government is that it wants to fund importation of commodities such as fuel, and the dilemma currently is that if an importer approaches the RBZ for funds, the central bank is not in a position to provide it, hence the use of bond notes to milk US deposits from people’s bank accounts.
“The only reasonable thing that is going to happen is that the RBZ will raid people’s accounts of US dollars and replace them with bond notes. It will do this so that it can give the importers raided cash in US dollars to be used in importing goods,” adds Madze.
He adds that the fact that bond notes are only operational in Zimbabwe alone means importers alone will be given the mandate to use this scarce currency. He urged fellow countrymen to make sure that they either convert every bond note into rands on receiving it or pass it on through buying something immediately.
However, while some are in the same school of thought with Madze, there are yet others who think otherwise. A house maid in Mandara, Laina Mpofu disagrees, says bond notes will easy her burden. “There is no use having lots of US dollars in the account which you are not able to withdraw when you need it. Since bond notes cannot be externalised, this means there will be easily accessible from the banks, and queues will be a thing of the past,” she says.
She gave example of how the bond coins introduced by the RBZ last year managed to ease the problem of change in the economy. Saying since their entry no one received change in form of sweets anymore.
However, as if to assert the fears by Zimbabweans over the issue of bond notes, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently said that bond notes may be used for specific transactions so that the US dollar is reserved not for general public usage.
“The US dollar is a reserve currency. It is a precious currency to most countries in the world. It is for international transactions.
“Haisi yekutengesa matohwe, mavisi, madora, kana yekutengesa mazhanje (It is not for buying wild fruits, tomatoes, or Mopani worms-macimbi),” The Herald of 2 November 2016 quoted him saying while addressing Zimbabwean Embassy staff in Switzerland.
Some people like Madze have since taken this statement as a confirmation that only importers will be given the green currency for international transactions as pointed out by the VP, while relegating the general public to using the bond notes.