July 7, 2009 01:11AMT
Zimbabwe will not return to using its own currency in the near future, and any move back to the Zimbabwe dollar will be linked to export strength, Zimbabwe’s finance minister Tendai Biti said on Monday.
“It is not our intention to depart in a hurry from the regime of multiple currencies that we are using at the present moment,” Biti said in an interview with Reuters television.
“There is no reversion to the Zimbabwe dollar at all. If it happens, it will depend on the performance of our economy, the performance of our exports. We are still a very, very long way to the return of the Zimbabwean dollar.”
Zimbabwe has allowed the use of multiple foreign currencies since January to stem hyperinflation which has left the Zimbabwe dollar almost worthless in the midst of a severe economic crisis.
President Robert Mugabe has said Zimbabwe may revive the use of its own currency because the U.S. dollar was unavailable to a majority of people in the countryside.
Biti also told Reuters that inflation would reach 3-4 percent this year, after averaging 2.0 percent over the January-June period. He said Zimbabwe needed budgetary support.
“We expect our 2009 budget to be $1 billion, I expect to collect $800 million by the end of the year. This will leave us a shortfall of $200 million.”
Zimbabwe recorded a monthly inflation rate of one percent in May.
The last inflation figure announcement before the country permitted the use of foreign currencies was in October, which showed prices racing along at a record 231 million percent.