The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has moved to quash reports of a return of the Zimbabwean dollar.
In a statement seen by Nehanda Radio, Acting Governor Dr Charity Dhliwayo said the RBZ wanted to re-confirm the pronouncements made by the Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa on several occasions regarding the continued use of the multicurrency system.
“The Reserve Bank has noted with concern that some people continue to spread unsubstantiated claims on the imminent return of the Zimbabwean dollar.
“As monetary authorities, the Reserve Bank confirms the pronouncements made by the Honourable Minister of Finance and Economic Development on several occasions regarding the continued use of the multicurrency system,” she said.
Dr Dhliwayo said at the pre-Budget seminar held in Victoria Falls last month, Minister Chinamasa categorically stated the Government’s position that the multi-currency system would remain for at least five years.
She said the minister indicated that Government programmes over that period would be predicated on the multi-currency system.
“There have also been press reports suggesting that Fidelity Printers and Refiners, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank, is putting in place measures in preparation for the resumption of the printing of the local currency,” Dr Dhliwayo said.
“The Reserve Bank wishes to unequivocally put it on record that such reports have no basis whatsoever. As monetary authorities, we wish to assure the business community and members of the public that there are no plans to reintroduce the Zimbabwean dollar in the near future.”
She urged members of the public to conduct their business normally and refuse to be swayed by these falsehoods. Since 2009, the country has been using foreign currencies, such as the US dollar, the South African rand and the Botswana pula.
Last month, Minister Chinamasa told legislators at a pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls that no consideration would be given to a reintroduction of the Zimbabwe dollar in the immediate term adding that the number of foreign currencies in use may be increased.
“The multi-currency system will remain for the next five years. I do not want to continue being asked that question. It is going to be a multi-currency regime . . . (and) this will be the basis of our programmes for the next five years.
“Let that be clear to everybody. We might actually add more currencies to the cocktail of the currencies we are using now, depending on how that currency will be benefiting the country,” Minister Chinamasa said.
Economic analysts are of the view that the economy will not recover under the current multi-currency system, as the US dollar has proved elusive for most Zimbabweans. However others insist that the immediate return of the Zimbabwean dollar will be disastrous.
The Zimbabwe Dollar was dropped from use early 2009 because it had become worthless after years of economic decay and corruption. At one point inflation ran over a trillion percent, with businesses struggling to supply any goods or services.
The new coalition government that year quickly introduced the United States Dollar and the South African Rand as legal tender, and within days shops were full to the rafters with groceries and other supplies.
In June 2009 President Mugabe said he wanted to bring back the Zimbabwe dollar, in place of the current system of multiple currencies because the dollarization of the economy had failed to help the plight of ordinary people, who did not have access to foreign currency.
Mugabe said although prices have gone down, ‘people should have the money.’ He also gave the example of people in rural areas being forced to trade their livestock.