US dollar coins likely to be unveiled in Zimbabwe before end of the year
by Nare Msupatsila
2011 July 27 07:39:45
Presenting the Mid Year Fiscal Policy Review Statement, Minister Biti said
the Zimbabwe government was finalising importation of coins from the US. He
indicated that the coins are likely to be unveiled before end of this year.
Earlier this year there were some reports that the US govt agreed to supply
coins to Zimbabwe. The United States Federal Reserve is said to have agreed
to supply coins and replace soiled notes to Zimbabwean banks in a bid to end
change problems in the economy.
According to sources, representatives Bankers Association of Zimbabwe led by
its president and FBC Bank boss John Mushayavanhu met Finance minister
Tendai Biti sometime back to map a way forward in dealing with change
problems in the economy.
The sources, said the US Federal Reserve have "formally" agreed that
Zimbabwe's economy is now dollarised and will now supply Zimbabwe with coins
and replace notes.
Officials from the Finance ministry are said to have finalised all the nuts
and bolts to the US dollar coins with the Fed and will soon depart for the
US to airlift the coins to Zimbabwe.
Banks and government, according to the sources have agreed to charter an Air
Zimbabwe flight to pick up the coins in the US. The flight costs will be met
by both government and banks.
Zimbabwe has been saddled with change problems since the introduction of
multi-currencies in February 2009.
Retailers are offering consumers credit notes, tokens and even sweets to
settle small change.
Mushavanhu declined to comment on the matter referring all questions to Biti
who was unreachable at the time of going to press.
In his 2011 Mid Term Budget Policy statement, Biti yesterday said government
had engaged the United States Federal Reserve over possible provision of
coins and replacement of soiled notes to ease small change problems in the
Biti said: "I am pleased to advise on the fruitful interactions with the US
Department of the Treasury which stands ready to facilitate access to
acquisition of smaller denominated coins and replacement of soiled notes
through the US Federal Reserve and commercial banks. I will, therefore, be
finalising on this in conjunction with the banking system, that way
resolving the matter of challenges with change and coins."
"The availability of both US dollar and rand coins will do away with the
challenges posed by the current need to apply cross rates in giving change
in rand coins for transactions undertaken in US dollars," Biti said. "Whilst
this problem should be alleviated by electronic payment systems, the large
size of the informal sector and the lack of infrastructure for electronic
payment systems in rural areas necessitate the availability of large volumes
of small denominations".