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Zimbabwe monetary authorities, where are you?

By Dr. James Madzimure

Every day as I wake up, I am greeted by voices of Zimbabweans who are full of fear that the country might be going back to 2008 era. Their number one fear is whether they will get cash from the bank to be able to buy what they want at a fair price.

Dr James Madzimure
Dr James Madzimure

Since the announcement of the coming of the bond notes a few months ago, speculation has been very rife in the economy. Some people have been busy withdrawing their money from the banks. On the other hand the banks have been fighting hard to stop their coffers from being drained. At the same time, banks have been making a killing on its clients in terms of bank charges as if they are closing business tomorrow. We were getting more charges for little money.

People are crying daily over withdrawals that have been limited to as little as $50 per day. Honestly what do I do with such paltry amount in such an economy? What amazes me is that the withdrawal fee has not changed at all; it remains pegged at $2.50 for transacting at an ATM machine. What is so expensive about being given little money by a computer? Remember, at the beginning of the year one could get $2000 for the same charge.

Where are the monetary authorities in Zimbabwe?

The RBZ Governor, we are also counting on you to reign on your financial institutions and protect depositors from an obvious abuse. Don’t turn a blind eye on such day light robbery of our hard earned cash. I am not a politician; I speak what we experience as a society. The public is expecting you to announce the withdrawal limit to be reduced to as little as $0.50 per transaction. These are times for everyone, the ordinary Zimbabweans must be protected too.

We must not scare away the depositors, remember the client is King. Imagine the King decides to keep his or her hard earned cash underground or in the pillow. This is very risky, but I think it is less risky than trusting banks in Zimbabwe. They are now operating as anointed thieves with no one to rebuke this amoral behaviour. Let us encourage deposits but we must promise to pay the bearer his/her money on demand.

This issue of banks budgeting for us is funny and unacceptable. Yes there is shortage of cash, let us get to the root of the problem. If it is known that Chinese and other shrewd business people don’t bank money, what is being done to check their financial records? Noise without corrective action is useless.

Where are the monetary authorities? Please don’t sleep on the wheel, drive us well until we reach to safety ground. We are all counting on you during such a turbulent storm. You have the compass of where we are going, calm the sailors. Yesterday, I received a message from my bank that read: “Dear client, we advise that the card limit on VISA Point of Sale is now USD500 per day with effect from 30 Nov 2016. We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused.” We thought plastic money was going to rescue us during this trying moment. Alas, all hopes have been dashed on a hard rock. Was the above message a directive from the RBZ Governor? Help us, we are not financial people. What was the driving objective? Is it to curb corruption?

I went to this commercial bank at 5pm, one other person came while people were at the ATM and asked are there people inside? The security guard indicated that they had closed banking hall at 3pm, the guy said that the bank does not close. To my surprise, he knocked at the window and I could see him counting lot of cash afterwards.

What is happening already? I see bank tellers becoming very rich very soon kkkk. Maybe the turn for security guards will also come for corruption on bank ques. You hear in parliament that big business people are moving their cash out of the economy. The question is by what method and where are they taking the money to? How come we have never heard of anyone who was arrested? Who are the ‘big fish’ by the way?

I am tired of living under regrets; something prudent must be done to champion our economy forward. What is the point of encouraging people to use plastic money and then you limit its use too? Captain of monetary issues, are you sure we are all safe in this boat?

The limit on electronic money makes ordinary people to be a bit worried. It seems someone is busy milking away the little money left? But who could it be? We need consented effort to curb the bleeding that is happening in our financial sector, Zimbabwe is for us all. We are here to stay; we cannot go abroad and live like destitute people.

Everyone was sceptical about the coming of the bond notes, but when they finally came on the market against all odds, people had no choice but o embrace them. Now we see that there are RBZ people travelling around Provinces to hear people’s input on bond notes. That sounds crazy, isn’t it?

Let us use that money for something else, not just wasting tax payer’s money to fatten some individuals pockets through travel and subsistence payments. I am a progressive Zimbabwean, I believe in collective building of our nation. We know when we were supposed to consult people, cosmetic efforts do not work.

Now we have the bond notes, but it seems my withdrawal limit went down further from the $100 I was complaining was too little before the coming of surrogate currency. The bank queues are even longer, and in most cases there is no cash in the ATM machine. No, I expect things to improve.

Most of the time I am now going to my international bank, you are told there is no money on the ATM machine. What is now happening? It never used to happen before bond notes. I ask them; please give me the bond notes so that I go back to work. You are told, the green buck and the bond notes are all finished.

Mr RBZ Governor, this may suggest that you printed few bond notes than the demand required by the nation. Wait a minute. Could it be that some guys at the popular Road port black market are already doing bond notes laundering? Anything is possible in Zimbabwe.

Are people now very corrupt to the extent of withholding even our surrogate currency despite it being accepted willingly or under duress? Don’t read my write up with a political mindset, be open-minded and see what I am pointing to. There is a problem somewhere, let authorities investigate and uproot the culprits.

I do not want to live under a “black market” economy. Go to the fuel station, they are charging you 15 cents more if you want to swipe or use bond notes. Is this what our Zim government is advocating for? If not, so why don’t we have Operation Gashira Bond Note to stop those who are short changing people.

If you can’t take the bond note I have been given by the bank on a 1:1 rate with USD, close shop. Or should you? Kkkk, I don’t know, but you seem to have little choice Mr businessman. What is the people’s fear on bond notes? Why it was not addressed before its introduction? Now we have to embrace realities. If we start something by ginya, we have to ginyabvura everyone all the way. But what image can we have as a nation? As you can see, people have more questions than answers.

I went into one shop; I was taken aside and told diplomatically, “You know we are being charged 10% to withdraw this electronic money, so we must share equally the cost. So you have to pay 5% for the price of goods you are swiping.” Zim monetary authorities, could this be true? If not, why you are quiet when such practices are spreading like veld fire? The vigilance you demonstrated in unleashing the bond note on the market is the same momentum you should maintain for all business people to embrace it.

We can’t have a civil servant who is being paid peanuts being robbed again at the end of the day. We are all working to build our nation, let us have teamwork. Black market is now here, believe it or not. Something must be done urgently; otherwise the money will run dry on the market. Or is it that it is already dry? You know better out there, kuno ichiriko.

I am a progressive Zimbabwean, who earnestly intercedes for this nation. I pray again and again for prudent monetary and fiscal policies. We might walk through fire for a season, but the eyes of God are upon our nation. I have good news for all of you who are full of above questions, we are now moving to our own Canaan land. I declare that I stay in Goshenland even if everyone chooses to be crying in Egypt.

Same country but you experience different economies. I believe more in the sustenance that comes from a Heavenly Economy. Put your hope in God, not man. Those who trust in man shall fail, but blessed is the men who trust in God. Don’t put your hope in the RBZ Governor, Finance Minister or government; trust God with your life. Men can disappoint you, but not with God.

Nation of Zimbabwe, believe you me, we are moving foward. Weeping may tarry overnight but joy cometh in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Dark moments are almost over; the bright morning is coming carrying healing in its rays (Malachi 4:2-4). You will be fattened like a calf in its feeding stall in this nation Zimbabwe. As God’s servants, we speak a word of hope. We do not merely encourage you but we declare a shift of seasons using the Apostolic mantle upon our lives.

I may have common questions like everyone else, but God alone has our true answers. Politicians can make promises they may fail to fulfil, but with God all things are possible. Stop being sceptical, pray for this nation, victory is certain. We can blame the government and certain individuals, but certain things are beyond them. If you were to honestly ask them, they will tell you they have more sleepless nights than you as they wonder where the nation is going.

Pray to God that he may give divine wisdom and understanding to the monetary and fiscal authorities, so that they make prudent policies for our nation. Prayer can help those who are at the steering wheel to do much better. But let us also stand united and fight against corruption. The lessons we will learn during the bond notes era will help us build a better Zimbabwe.

Listen; there are lessons to be learnt during the ‘baptism’ of bond notes. It is only for a very short season, don’t panic over temporary things. Take your pen and paper and start learning. Your lessons are very important for building tomorrow. Zimbabwe is at the school of God, he has allowed everything for a good reason. Don’t despair; God is very much in control over Zimbabwe.

Apostle Dr. James Madzimure writes in personal capacity and is very apolitical. He is a free minded person and is passionate about the prosperity of the nation Zimbabwe.

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