via Special coins by November to ease Zimbabwe change woes September 23, 2014
THE $20 million worth of special coins expected in the country by November are to help ease change problems created by the absence of coins, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya has said.
He said the availability of the coins will lead to a reduction in prices of commodities as they had been originally priced with the absence of coins in mind.
“We will get $20 million special coins in November. We will also get $25 million in rand coins which we expect to be in the country earlier than the special coins as they have to be made specifically for us. We will get the coins from South Africa. The minting of the special coins will be done in that country as well,” he said.
Mangudya said the country cannot print the special coins that will be used at par with the United States dollars as it was expensive for the country.
“They are not Zimbabwean coins, we don’t want to bring back the Zimbabwean dollar due to confidence issues,” he said.
Since the use of the multicurrency system in 2009, the absence of coins has led to customers being given vouchers redeemable at particular shops. In other instances, customers were given sweets as change.
Mangudya said the move to introduce special coins was not peculiar to Zimbabwe as the country once used the currency board in 1938.
A currency board is a monetary authority which is required to maintain a fixed exchange rate with a foreign currency.
The introduction of the special coins had raised fears that government wanted to return the banished Zimbabwe dollar to replace the multicurrency regime.
In his mid-term fiscal policy review, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said government had no appetite to change the multicurrency policy urging the nation to take comfort in the continuous re-assurance from both the monetary and fiscal authorities.
“The procurement of special foreign coins to provide small change as announced in the Monetary Policy Statement, under a US dollar bond facility by the Reserve Bank, is a clear testimony meant to buttress the multiple currency system and to enhance business confidence,” he said.
Research has shown that getting coins from South Africa was cheaper for Zimbabwe as road transport can be used reducing freight and shipment costs for the country.
In his monetary policy last month, Mangudya said RBZ would be importing special coins of 1c, 5c, 10c, 20c, and 50c whose values would be at par with the US cents.
Rand coins of 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5 are also being imported to buttress the multiple currency system which is dominated by the US$ and rand.