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 Banks and ATMs were, for the second day running, overwhelmed  by long queues of cash-starved depositors who scrambled to withdraw newly-introduced bond notes.

Long winding queues were witnessed at bank branches across the capital Harare, especially in the Central Business District. Similarly, people were seen impatiently waiting outside ATMs to withdraw money.

This follows the unveiling of the surrogate currency by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe which came into circulation on Monday as part of government’s assault on an acute liquidity crunch.

The move aims to bring more money into the formal banking system, stimulate exports and ultimately boost the economy.

Most commercial banks have continued dispensing to their depositors their usual $60 daily withdrawal limit in greenback and on top of that, if the client still wants more cash, they are giving out $50 worth of bond notes a day.

This has ignited a rush on the banks, while shortages of greenbacks and problems recalibrating ATMs to fit the new bond bills have seen hours-long queues form outside banks nationwide.

People, including the elderly and women, were queuing up in large numbers to get the promissory notes needed to meet their daily expenses.

The long queues are in stark contrast to the fears first exhibited by ordinary people when the RBZ announced it was introducing the bond notes to ease the liquid crisis.

Zimbabwe is battling serious economic problems — including dwindling exports as a result of low capacity utilisation which the RBZ hopes could be mitigated by the bond notes which have come in as an export incentive.

President Robert Mugabe’s government hopes that the introduction of bond notes and the success of the Statutory Instrument 64 which banned importation of basic consumer goods, will complement local industries in their effort to ramp up production.

Source: Daily News

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