THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) will, starting today, embark on a countrywide public awareness campaign ahead of the introduction of bond notes.
RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya said the bond notes would be released within the
six-week awareness campaign period, whch is expected to clarify some of the misconceptions about the new currency.
“Starting on Monday (today), we’ll be in the six weeks public awareness campaign for the introduction of the bond notes so that the public gets to know the features of the notes.
“During the campaign period, we’ll also be working with various media houses to disseminate information on the bond notes,” he said.
The bond notes, which are guaranteed by a $200 million African Export Import Bank (Afrexim) loan facility, will be at par with the US dollar. Dr Mangudya would not be drawn into revealing the exact date the bond notes would be released citing security concerns.
“I can’t divulge the exact date for their (bond notes) release because of security issues and doing so is tantamount to failing in our duties as monetary authorities,” he said.
The first phase of the bond notes introduction will see $75 million being released by the end of December.
The monetary authorities will not inject the $200 million facility directly into the economy as it has been observed that since the adoption of a multicurrency system in February 2009, Zimbabwe’s economy has continued to suffer from foreign exchange malpractices.
Dr Mangudya expressed optimism that the bond notes would not cause inflation and parallel markets because the amount in circulation would be small and limited by the size of the $200 million Afrexim facility.
Asked about the impact of the bond notes in easing the current cash shortage, the Central Bank boss said:
“I wouldn’t know the impact the bond notes will have in easing the current cash shortages facing the economy.
“We’re introducing the bond notes into the economy sparingly to ensure we don’t cause inflation and also to ensure that the economy moves well.
“We are looking at how we can encourage exports as an economy, hence the introduction of the bond notes”.
In the 2016 mid-term monetary policy statement, Dr Mangudya pointed out that Zimbabwe’s widening trade deficit of around $2,5 billion requires a substantial policy reset to promote exports. The export bonus scheme was being introduced in view of lack of competitiveness of Zimbabwean exports due to global shocks that include the strong US dollar, sharp decline in commodity prices and tighter global financial conditions.