By John Chimunhu|
There has been a serious run on banks with companies and wealthy individuals withdrawing huge amounts of foreign currency ahead of Thursday’s anticipated clandestine return of the Zimdollar.
Zimbabweans are in panic mode following a government announcement that special ‘imported’ coins would go into circulation.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which claims it ordered minting of the special coins worth $10 million in neighbouring South Africa, said use of the controversial currency would not be compulsory.
Taxi drivers and other business operators in Harare vowed not to accept the coins, prompting the RBZ to issue public threats.
The police and army have been put on standby to deal with anyone refusing to accept the coins which, sources claim, are minted in Zimbabwe.
“We have to launch an elongated programme to make sure the commuter omnibus people accept the bond coins,” said RBZ spokesman Alson Mfiri, speaking to Star FM Wednesday. “We’ve said it and we wont apologise for it. We’re bringing in the bond coins.”
Economists criticize the move as expensive, saying government should encourage greater use of electronic payment systems to solve currency problems.
There are widespread fears the government wants to reintroduce the collapsed Zimdollar through the back door.
Mfiri did not dispute reports that ‘bond notes’ were on the way.
Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) spokesman, Clive Mphambela said consumers should welcome the coins as they would bring convenience and help lower prices. But many people have lost faith in banks, accusing them of being complicit in the criminality of former RBZ governor Gideon Gono, that led to the Zimdollar’s collapse.
The bankrupt Mugabe government is reported to be planning to simply seize bank deposits to pay civil servants. The banks have been ordered to put in place withdrawal limits to frustrate depositors. Ecocash has already halved daily withdrawal limits to $1000.
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