Thursday, 24 November 2016

BOND NOTES : PARLY SEEKS PUBLIC INPUT

A parliamentary panel yesterday sought public comments on a draft bill which seeks to legalise bond notes.

The views of stakeholders are being sought by November 30 on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Amendment Bill, currently being scrutinised by a parliamentary committee.
“...the portfolio committee on finance and economic development is hereby inviting all interested and affected parties as well as members of the general public to submit their comments on the Bill to Parliament of Zimbabwe,” said a notice published by Johane Gandiwa, the assistant clerk of Parliament yesterday.


This comes after President Robert Mugabe has moved to seek Parliament’s approval a statutory instrument to legalise the bond notes.

The statutory instrument was valid for only six months, with the envisaged Act now set to give the bond notes constitutional validity after undergoing judicial review and a legislative process in line with the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy.

The development comes after the Zanu PF leader had invoked his executive powers to introduce emergency measures to shore up the surrogate currency, which will trade at par with the American dollar, in a bid to ease a worsening liquidity crunch that has heightened panic in the country.

Authoritative sources told the Daily News yesterday the RBZ has started shipping bond notes in physical cash to Harare in heavily-guarded trucks.

The transfer of currency is being handled by wholly-owned Zimbabwean shipping, forwarding and customs clearing organisation Freight World.

A specimen of the bond notes is set to be published before this weekend, RBZ sources confirmed.

In an extraordinary government gazette last week, Mugabe’s government sought to amend the RBZ Act through a bill that will be tabled in the National Assembly — in accordance with the august house’s standing orders - and scrutinised by its legal committee as well.

A new motion announced Tuesday by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, sought the house of assembly’s approval of the fast-tracking of the RBZ Bill, but the opposition immediately opposed this, with the Speaker Jacob Mudenda saying the discussion would have to wait until the minister moves the motion.
The Bill can be downloaded on Parliament’s website.

The envisaged process follows Mugabe’s publication or issuance of statutory instrument 133 for the legal tender to trade along nine other foreign currencies.

As the contestation around the bond notes continue, lawyers Tererai Mafukidze, Tendai Biti and Dzimbabwe Chimbga have mounted a legal challenge against the Central Bank initiative and describing it as a “troubling, bad and terrible economic” gimmick meant to pave way for the return of the Zimdollar.

However, RBZ governor John Mangudya has continued drumming up support for the currency and insists the ‘money’ does not signal the return of the derided currency.

The new notes, it has been announced, are backed by a $200 million facility from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) of which Zimbabwe is a shareholder.
Mugabe and his Zanu PF have pushed for the law, in part to try to circumvent a biting liquidity crunch, as banks have run out of greenbacks and resulting in further cuts of amounts dispensed to customers. Daily News

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