US dollar to stay
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Zanu-PF, which resoundingly won the mandate to form the next Government, have dismissed rumours doing the rounds that the Zimdollar would be immediately reintroduced, saying there were no immediate plans to do away with the multi-currency regime. The Zanu-PF Government introduced the multi-currency regime on January 29, 2009, a whole fortnight before the consummation of the inclusive Government on February 13 that year after the Zimdollar was rendered worthless by sanctions-induced hyper-inflation.
The vanquished MDC-T tried to claim credit for the policy to the extent of citing it as part of its achievements ahead of the harmonised elections.
During his abortive campaign in all 10 provinces, MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai waved wads of Zimdollars at his supporters, claiming Zanu-PF would reintroduce them if people denied him the mandate, and judging by reports emanating from the banking sector, some people bought the rhetoric and withdrew their savings.
The panic withdrawals follow similar rumours about fuel price increases and the purported reintroduction of the South African visa, all of which have been dismissed as false by the relevant authorities with analysts tracing the rumours to Harvest House, saying they were part of MDC-T’s campaign to foment alarm and despondency in the wake of the party’s crushing defeat.
RBZ Governor Dr Gideon Gono yesterday said the multi-currency regime would stay.
“Reference is made to rumours circulating in the market and uninformed pronouncements suggesting the immediate or near term return of the local Zimbabwean currency by whatever name.
“This statement serves to emphatically dismiss those rumours and to confirm that there are no plans whatsoever, within and outside the Bank, for the immediate or near-term introduction of new currency or reintroduction of the Zimbabwean dollar into our system,” said Dr Gono.
The RBZ chief said President Mugabe made it clear at a Press conference last Tuesday that the Government would be cautious and gradual about reintroducing the local currency.
“It may be wishes of some stakeholders in debates, and this is a free country where freedom of speech, thought or wish is allowed, that the Zimdollar be returned immediately but these are just wishes.
“The multi-currency regime will be with us for the foreseeable future and in any case, when the time comes, the local currency will circulate alongside other existing currencies with people exercising their choice of currency to hold.
“Besides, there are preconditions which His Excellency, the President has stipulated, and these were publicised two weeks ago, which must be fulfilled in order to make the return of the local currency technically feasible, financially viable to the economy and economically sustainable.
“The agenda in the environment is focused on genuinely improving the livelihoods of our people and economically empowering them in a fiscally sustainable way,” said Dr Gono.
He said there was no reason to doubt that sound economic policies would be introduced or pursued and sustained by the incoming Cabinet to be appointed by President Mugabe.
“Stakeholders are also advised that the multi-currency regime is not an area of emotional choice or option but rather a measure officially introduced in January 2009 as part of our adaptive economic strategy and a pragmatic response to the challenges of the day.
“While the hyper-inflation challenge is now a thing of the past, a number other deep-seated challenges which bedevilled the economy prior to 2009 are still with us, hence the need to stay the course.
“Accordingly, market players and the banking community are urged to stop panicking and instead, get on with their boardroom strategies aimed at prospering their companies and selves in the wake of the new political realities which have been ushered in by the recently concluded harmonised elections.
“Meanwhile, the Governor will be in Bulawayo tomorrow (today) to assure depositors and banks there that nothing being rumoured is true,” said Dr Gono.
Zanu-PF national spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo also dismissed the rumours were a deliberate attempt to misinterpret, misrepresent or distort the party’s position on the re-introduction of the local currency.
“The Party position is very clear on the issue because according to our election manifesto it was made clear that the re-introduction of local currency will not be done now, but later when the economic situation has improved and stabilized.
“Rumours circulating around to the effect that local currency will be introduced with immediate effect are false. It is a calculated move to confuse the public and create despondency among our people,” Cde Gumbo said.
Officially launching the Zanu-PF manifesto at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield last month, President Mugabe said the Zanu-PF Government would not rush to re-introduce the Zimbabwe dollar as the revolutionary party was mindful of avoiding a repeat of the hyperinflationary period experienced before the multi-currency system was adopted in 2009.
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority on Monday dispelled reports in some sections of the media that fuel prices had gone up with petrol reportedly selling at US$1, 70 per litre, while diesel was said to be selling at US$1, 50 per litre.
The ZERA spoke as South Africa also dismissed claims that it had reintroduced visa fees in the wake of President Mugabe’s crushing victory in the harmonised elections to stem an anticipated influx of economic refugees.
Some pro-MDC-T websites and the party’s trolls on social media claimed South Africa was closing its borders to stem an influx of Zimbabweans fleeing hardships that MDC-T claimed would engulf the country in the wake of its crushing defeat.–herald