via RBZ has no gold reserves – Chinamasa | The Source March 5, 2014
Zimbabwe’s central bank holds no gold reserves but is preparing to build stocks for both the yellow metal and diamonds in the near future, finance minister Patrick Chinamasa told parliament on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe holds vast diamond reserves while gold production is recovering following a decline in the last decade.
Chinamasa, who was responding to questions regarding the state of affairs in which former governor, Gideon Gono left the bank, said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was currently holding gold coins only.
Gono left the RBZ at the end of November last year.
“The bank does not hold any gold reserves except for gold coins which were valued at $501 390 as at the end of January 2014,” Chinamasa told the house.
“I have however asked the Reserve Bank to prepare for the day we can start to build our own gold and diamond reserves. The legal responsibility to keep such reserves would fall squarely on the RBZ,” he added.
Chinamasa said the central bank had disposed of 284 632 grammes of gold which were held by Standard Chartered Bank in London at the beginning of 2013.
The finance mister said external auditors carried out yearly audits at the RBZ, with the 2013 audit expected at the end of March.
“The 2012 audit was conducted by Ernst and Young and it gave the bank a clean bill of health,” he said.
On finalisation of the RBZ retrenchment programme, Chinamasa said the apex bank was still battling to raise funding to pay over 1 500 of its ex-staffers.
“Out of a total of 2,044 retrenchees, 421 have now been fully paid. The bank is currently engaged in efforts to raise funds to pay off the (former workers),” the minister said, without saying how much was required for the exercise.
The employees, retrenched early last year, have fought running battles with the central bank through the Labour Court to have their dues settled.
But the central bank has insisted it does not have funds to settle the arrears.