Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Bond coins unavailable in Matabeleland

By Mandla Tshuma

More than a month since the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) introduced bond coins into the economy with a view to easing change challenges across the country, the circulation of the special coins remains subdued in Matabeleland.

RBZ governor, John Mangudya unveiling the bond coins
RBZ governor, John Mangudya unveiling the bond coins

The bond coins, which are meant to help with the divisibility of US dollars into smaller denominations for change purposes, was supported by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, the Retailers Association of Zimbabwe and the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe.

It was expected to culminate into a decline in prices since there were claims some retailers were rounding off prices to the nearest dollar to avoid change challenges.

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But that has not happened in Matabeleland. The central bank launched the bond coins in 1c, 5c, 10c and 25c denominations in December, with 50c coins expected to be unveiled in March.

While these coins are now widely available in other parts of the country, a survey by the Financial Gazette revealed that this is not the case in Matabeleland where the South African rand coins remain dominant. Most shoppers said they were yet to see the special coins.

But their unavailability could also have to do with lack of acceptance in the region, which could be taking a cue from commuter omnibus operators who have flatly refused to accept the coins from commuters across the country.

In rural Matabeleland, especially Matabeleland South where pricing is exclusively in the South African rands, bond coins will hardly find their way into that market.

The CCZ Matabeleland regional manager, Comfort Muchekeza, said the consumer watchdog had also noted with great concern the low circulation of the bond coins in the region while also castigating those rejecting them.

“It is weird for some people to be rejecting those coins yet they are legal tender,” he said.

RBZ governor, John Mangudya, has said people should not be forced to accept those coins. He has dispelled fears that government might be planning to bring back the Zimbabwe dollar through the bond coins, saying the ditched currency was not in any of its near and medium term plans. – Financial Gazette