THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is collecting information on the volume of money in circulation with a view to establishing the economy’s optimum requirements as authorities seek to significantly reduce or — at best — completely eliminate cash shortages.
Zimbabwe is facing cash shortages that have seen some depositors spending nights in bank queues. The hardest hit institutions are POSB, CABS, FBC, ZB Bank and to some extent CBZ, which all have huge client bases.
Many banks have set daily withdrawal limits of US$50. RBZ Deputy Governor Dr Kupukile Mlambo told The Sunday Mail Business last week that the apex bank was gathering data that would enable it to establish market cash requirements before deciding on injecting money into circulation.
“We haven’t met about it yet, we are just looking into the information first (because) we need to collect information and see how (money) is circulating and so on,” said Dr Mlambo.
Pressed on if the RBZ would increase the amount of bond notes in circulation, Dr Mlambo said: “I can’t say right now because, like I said, we are working out the circulation; we still have to work that out.
“If you talk to me in about a week or so, I may have something because right now we are still collecting the data.”
There are growing calls for the RBZ to release more bond notes to address cash shortages and reduce the snaking queues at banks. The RBZ last month issued bond notes worth US$17 million.
The bond notes, which are backed by a US$200 million Africa Export-Import Bank facility, were introduced to incentivise exporters. Exporters get a bonus of between 2,5 percent and five percent of their export earnings in bond notes.
This is meant to encourage exports as Zimbabwe — which uses a basket of nine currencies — largely relies on the US dollar. Bond notes are equivalent in value to the US dollar and are for local use.
In a December 7, 2016 statement, RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya said the bank would release bond notes “on a measured or drip-feed basis”.
So far, the RBZ has disbursed US$17 million worth of bond notes against a value of US$70 million payable to exporters under the export incentive scheme.
The RBZ said bond notes with a face value of US$5 would be released “in due course” after the earlier injection of notes worth US$2 and a coin with a value of US$1.
Dr Mangudya said the central bank would continue to publicise information pertaining to bond notes in order to uphold its commitment to transparency.