Zim needs $1bn to end cash crisis

Source: Zim needs $1bn to end cash crisis – DailyNews Live

Ndakaziva Majaka      31 January 2017

HARARE – Zimbabwe requires close to $1 billion fresh capital to reduce the
current cash crisis, a leading economist has said.

Renowned economics professor and advisor to the Office of the President,
Ashok Chakravarti, said the country, which has been battling acute cash
shortages for close to a year, must come up with new strategies to attract
new cash.

“We need a cash to deposit ratio of around 15 percent to prevent liquidity
problems in an economy, mind you, the current ratio is at four percent.

“Currently, we have $6,2 billion in deposits with real cash in the system
at $304 million… So we need about $900 million as cash in circulation
and nostros, to escape illiquidity,” Chakravarti told delegates at a
recently-held Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries roundtable.

Official statistics show that the country has a paltry $232 million in
circulation, with a shortfall of almost $700 million.

Chakravarti noted that while the country introduced a parallel currency in
the form of bond notes last year, the cash to deposits ratio remains

“Even a full bond note issue of $200 million will therefore not make a
difference. If ratio of bond notes to US$ is increased beyond current
proportion, then it will no longer be a multi-currency situation and
premiums will start emerging on US$ versus bond notes.

“As the cash shortage deepens, this premium will rise and can be viewed as
representing the depreciation rate of the new currency in the form of Real
Time Gross Settlement balances. The value of all deposits will decline in
terms of real US$,” the economist said, adding bond notes could ease the
liquidity situation a little bit, so long as there was an adequate supply
of US$.

When Zimbabwe adopted the multi-currency system, total deposits in the
banking system were $1,66 billion, but the cash to deposit ratio plummeted
from 35 percent in 2009 to five percent in January 2017.

Hard cash circulation has also slumped 53 percent to $304 million
currently from $642 million in 2013.

In spite of this, bank deposits have increased from $4,728 billion in 2013
to $6,2 billion in 2016.

Chakravarti said the surge in deposits was not a result of more money in
the economy, but a direct consequence of government over expenditure on

“Do not be fooled to think these deposits are actual people depositing
into their accounts, no! It is just a reflection of government salaries
being deposited…

“And to keep up with this expensive habit government has kept of its
workforce which took up 93 percent of total revenue last year,” he said.

The economist also said Treasury needed to shut down government’s
overdraft facility with the central bank as well as put a stop to the
issuance of Treasury Bills (TBs), which are being used by government to
honour obligations to the private sector.

While governments ideally have a limit to overdrafts they can get from
respective central banks, with over expenditure forcing the ministry of
Finance to borrow money from the market and has run up a massive debt in
TBs and a very large overdraft at the RBZ.

“In addition to Treasury Bills, government has an overdraft with RBZ. The
sudden increase of commercial bank balances with the RBZ from $543 million
in 2015 to over $1 billion in 2016 suggests that an overdraft of at least
500 million has been provided.

“This is clearly unsustainable; you do not need to be an economics
professor to see this…,” he said.


  • comment-avatar
    Nyoni 5 years ago

    Tell that regime to treat our diaspora favourably and you will have billions tomorrow. What’s wrong with this useless regime and if you are so renowned why are you not telling him this fact. Or are you too scared to talk to your cruel master.

  • comment-avatar
    Morty Smith 5 years ago

    “Renowned economics professor and advisor to the Office of the President,
    Ashok Chakravarti”

    Renown by who? This man is a pretender.

    Honestly the government has The Herald to print this type of rubbish. Zimbabwe is bankrupt because ZANU stole all the money. That is the only story

  • comment-avatar
    william mills 5 years ago

    Eventually there will be only one industry remaining: The picking of fly sh*t from pepper. Surely there must be some way this can be made more profitable for at it we are so fully well competent.