By Tapiwa Marimo
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has released cash into the banking sector with ordinary people expected to begin accessing it Tuesday, Governor John Mangundya said.
Mangudya told State media the RBZ had done everything to keep the money within the formal banking system amid fears it may be used for speculative purposes on the currency black market.
“Today was a day for logistics. We have released the money to the banks and they were collecting it from the Reserve Bank. On Tuesday they should begin to issue it to the transacting public,” Mangundya said.
Asked what the Central Bank had done to guard against abuse of the money by currency speculators, the RBZ chief retorted: “We need our people to work with us to make sure this cash is not abused. We have done our best and what is left is for us all as citizens to keep this money within the formal channels.”
Government in June announced the return of the Zimbabwean dollar after 10 years in the wilderness following its implosion in 2008.
At the time authorities adopted a basket of currencies dominated by the US dollar and to an extent the South African Rand.
The announcement to discontinue the multi-currency regime met with howls of disapproval triggering a fresh wave of inflation that has seen the local unit losing up to 500% of its value since it was introduced with its place held by a surrogate denomination known as the bond note and the electronic money in circulation.
As part of ongoing economic reforms last month the RBZ announced it would introduce notes and coins but critics argued without market confidence as well as notable increases in production the currency is likely to lead to more inflationary pressures.
But Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube and Mangundya have stuck to their guns declaring they are only printing money to replace Real-time gross settlement (RTGS) balances already in use by the public a move that is unlikely to increase broad money supply into the struggling economy.
For years now Zimbabweans have struggled with cash shortages forcing those with access to it to charge a premium on desperate citizens. This has exacerbated an already precarious situation and aided price increases as well as inflation.