FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday told Parliament there was no quick solution in sight to the cash crisis, amid long and winding queues sprouting at most banks yesterday as depositors jostled to withdraw their money for the Christmas Holiday.
Source: No quick fix to cash crisis: Chinamasa – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 22, 2016
BY VENERANDA LANGA/EVERSON MUSHAVA
He said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) had, to date, injected $29,6 million worth of bond notes into the banking sector to ease the cash crisis.
“The central bank will do its best to bring more bond notes, but bond notes will not solve the cash challenges overnight,” Chinamasa said, adding he would not release too many bond notes at once as it would disturb economic performance.
Most depositors, who spoke to NewsDay said they were making last minute efforts to access cash since today is a holiday and might want to travel to their rural homes to “celebrate” the bleak Christmas holiday with close relatives.
“Most of us slept in the queue, we are tired and hungry and the banks say they do not have the cash yet,” a depositor, who only identified himself as Simbarashe, said.
“We have no choice than to wait, otherwise, we will not be able to travel to rural areas to see our relatives. We cannot use point-of-sale machines to pay bus fares. It’s better we go to our rural areas because we don’t have money to afford expensive urban life during the festive season.”
Yesterday, Parliament crafted the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill after the David Chapfika-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance presented its public hearing report on bond notes.
Chapfika said while some people, who attended public hearings on the Bill demanded that a referendum must first be held on introduction of bond notes, others welcomed bond notes saying they will protect the country from outflows of foreign currency and deal with cash shortages.
“People said the Bill should provide penalties for defacing bond notes and those who will subject bond notes to the parallel market. Serious concerns were raised on the quality and security features of bond notes as some of the
$2 bond notes were not identical.
“The finance committee recommended penalties for individuals or corporates that do not accept bond notes and stiff penalties for those exchanging bond notes at the black market,” Chapfika said.
Hatfield MP Tapiwa Mashakada asked Chinamasa to disclose the terms of the $200 million Afrexim facility supporting the bond notes before Parliament to dispel speculation that the money was printed locally.
RBZ governor John Mangudya on Tuesday doubled the withdrawal limit of bond notes to $100 per day and introduced $12 million more of the surrogate currency to smoothen transactions during the festive season.
But, bank officials who spoke to NewsDay said they were still awaiting official communication from the RBZ boss.