Barely a week after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced bond notes, the new currency has ran out at most commercial banks.
Last week, the central bank released about $12 million of new cash.
“The banks have run out of bonds notes in their vaults. We will be having a meeting with the banks and see how we can address the situation,” RBZ Deputy Governor Khupukile Mlambo revealed the developments to Bulawayo based reporters at the weekend.
Bank queues began last April as US dollar notes became scarce.
The government slapped import bans on many products, mostly from South Africa, and commercial banks started limiting the amount its account holders could withdraw per day.
“We only printed $12 million worth of bond notes, but the banks have been calling us requesting for more bond notes, saying the ones they had had run out” he added.
The bond notes are backed by a $200 million Afreximbank guarantee credit facility, not a loan from the institution, Mlambo said.
RBZ blames the cash crisis on the alleged externalisation of the US dollar and a high import bill.
According to Zimstats, in October, $64 million was splashed in importing food and beverages and $36 million on maize.
Wheat and non-alcoholic beverages saw $5m and $2,2m respectively being spent on imports.
In the first 10 months to October, the country’s imports bill stood at $4,2 billion, while exports amounted to $2,2bn, indicating a continued reliance on imported goods as local industry remains depressed.
Some of the imported products include fish, milk, cheese, sausage casings, agricultural products including maize, sugar related confectionary, biscuits, electrical energy, chemicals and generators.
South Africa was the biggest source market for imports, with $210m worth of products followed by Singapore with $81m.