THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) yesterday threatened to stop supplying their products to wholesalers and shops refusing bond notes and coins, which are still legal tender.
Members of the association produce and pack maize-meal, self-raising flour, salt, rice, sugar beans and soya chunks which are critical for sustaining food security at household level.
The association’s chairman Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said in a statement that those involved were causing unnecessary inconveniences to consumers.
“We urge all entities distributing our products to accept all local bank notes and use them to buy from us or bank them and pay for our products by bank transfer. Our products can be bought using either cash or mobile money or bank transfers. We demand that the same payment arrangement be extended to consumers,” said Mr Musarara.
He warned that the association will be partnering with the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe to stop the practice.
The refusal of bond notes started in the informal market where the majority of players do not bank their cash, which has resulted in the old bond notes getting soiled, hence their growing rejection, along with fake news on social media platforms that they would be demonetised.
Government recently said bond coins and bond notes are still legal tender. Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said traders were legally obliged to accept them.
“Government notes with concern that there are some sections of the market that are rejecting bond notes and coins. Notes inscribed ‘bond notes’ are being rejected in preference for those inscribed ‘dollars.’ Government, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, will be substituting bond notes with new notes through a gradual process,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She added: “As announced by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Dr John Mangudya, all business owners, shopkeepers, tuckshop owners and even individuals are free to exchange the bond notes with new notes through their banks.”
Under normal circumstances, when cash is deposited in banks fairly frequently, banks remove worn and soiled notes and send them to the Reserve Bank for destruction. When notes or coins are demonetised, notice has to be given in the Government Gazette and a reasonable time is always given for holders to bank these while they are still valid, or even in a set time after demonetisation.