Joy as new ZiG notes and coins hit the streets


MARKET players have expressed readiness to embrace the new Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) notes and coins, which are expected to hit the streets today to bring about the long-desired transacting convenience and enhance smooth business operations.

The Central Bank has set weekly cash withdrawal limits at ZiG3 000 for individuals and ZiG30 000 for corporates to manage the initial rollout.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mushayavanhu has said everything is in place for the seamless distribution of the new currency while banks have already been advised on the maximum limits for withdrawal by individuals, corporates, schools and the Government.

According to the RBZ, the distribution of new notes and coins to commercial banking institutions was done yesterday and today, members of the public should be able to start withdrawing cash from their accounts today.

As the crisp new notes in denominations of ZiG10 to ZiG200 notes and shiny coins make their way into circulation, there is a sense of excitement in the air as different market players expect this to bring about positive business impact and enhance economic stability.

Bulawayo Urban Public Transport Association chairperson, Mr Morgan Msipa said their members were ready to embrace ZiG notes and coins to minimise the challenge of finding change.

“It might improve our lives. We have issues of lack of change and we hope that once the money is in circulation that can be a thing of the past,” he said.

Tshova Mubaiwa marketing director, Mr Ndabazabo Mabunda said the organisation was excited about the new money but had concerns about whether they would be able to purchase fuel with the currency.

“We already set fare figures and a trip will be equivalent to what people were paying for a trip, which is R10. Generally, we cannot wait and want to start using a currency that is ours,” he said.

“This is a fresh start, a chance to rebuild and strengthen the financial foundation of the country. With a new-found sense of optimism, people are looking towards a brighter future filled with economic stability and prosperity,” said Mr Mabunda.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association executive director, Mr Michael Ndiweni, said ordinary people were looking forward to the new notes and coins.

“People want to see how it will affect their daily lives. People have lost confidence in the country’s old currency but are eager to see how the ZiG will change their lives.

“Amidst the optimism they, however, have questions as to why some institutions are reluctant to use the money. Take for instance, it’s not considered legal tender when buying fuel and even some government departments are not accepting it,” said Mr Ndiweni.

He urged the Government to ensure that the ZiG maintains its value by crafting measures that will prevent speculative behaviour.

“Illegal activity such as unauthorized money changing must be nipped in the bud because it is the greatest contributor to devaluing the currency.

“The greatest task the Government has is to revive the confidence of the currency in the people,” said Mr Ndiweni.

An informal trader, Mr Kundayi Ngoni said he hopes the ZiG will accelerate the development of the country.

“I think to some extent the move by the RBZ will ease the cash crisis and it will improve liquidity as we will now be having access to a variety of money,” he said.

“The public must also be properly educated about this currency as it is being availed to them now. What we want to know is will the ZiG be accepted at fuel stations, and will the Registrar General accept this currency when we are trying to get passports and other documentation. These are the things we want to know.”

Bulawayo Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) coordinator, Mr Dumisani Ncube said: “I am very happy that we are starting to use the ZIG in hard currency. It’s high time we have our own currency. I age all MSMEs to use that currency. It will take us far”.

Another resident, Mr Pride Moyo said the new currency should be recognised as legal tender in all shops and called for enforcement of this to ensure the protection of ordinary people

“We need to be protected from foreigners that prefer transacting in forex and ignore the local currency. As a nation, we will accept the currency but there is a need for more consultation and awareness to manage the process as the money is now being available to the public,” said Mr Moyo.

Meanwhile, the RBZ Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which met on April 26 has noted that the announcement of the Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) early this month, including the adoption of the ZiG, has been well received by the market and is expected to ensure lasting stability, certainty, and predictability in the exchange rate and inflation.

“Preliminary indications since the announcement of the MPS show that the markets have been fairly stable,” said Dr Mushayavanhu in an update shared yesterday.

“In this regard, the MPC affirmed its commitment to the consolidation of these positive sentiments and ensure a quick restoration of confidence, trust, and anchoring of inflation expectations.”

Considering the initial positive reaction from the market, the RBZ Governor said the MPC has resolved to maintain the current policy matrix, which is anchored on; maintaining the current Bank Policy rate at 20 percent per annum and an interest rate corridor of 11-25 percent, maintain the statutory reserve requirements for demand deposits and savings and time deposits in ZiG at 15 percent and 5 percent, respectively; and to maintain the statutory reserve requirements for demand deposits and savings and time deposits in foreign currency at 20 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

“The MPC will proactively review the monetary policy measures in line with exchange rate and inflation developments,” said Dr Mushayavanhu.

To support the tight monetary policy stance, he said the MPC emphasized the need for the Reserve Bank to ensure robust liquidity management, contain money supply growth, and boost demand for the local currency.

There have also been calls for the RBZ to ensure that there is effective communication on the new structured currency, ZiG, to cover the whole country to ensure that there is financial inclusion.

The Apex Bank has further directed banks to undertake due diligence when processing cash requests for customers to ensure the facility is not used for criminal activities.

The new currency replaced the Zimbabwe dollar, which has been rapidly depreciating against major currencies since the beginning of the year. The RBZ has in its reserves US$100 million in foreign currency, and 2,5 tonnes of gold valued at US$185 million.

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