Govt to bring back Zim dollar — Biti

HARARE - Former Finance minister Tendai Biti said yesterday the Zanu PF government would be forced to reintroduce the shelved Zimbabwe dollar next year to avert total economic collapse.

“The sad truth of the matter is that the Zimbabwean dollar will be back. It is not a matter of if, but when,” the MDC shadow Finance minister told a press briefing at the party’s Harvest House headquarters in central Harare.

Zimbabwe abandoned its local currency in 2009 after it had been ravaged by hyperinflation which topped 231 million and introduced a basket of foreign currencies dominated by the United States dollar.

However, speculation has been rife following the re-election of President Robert Mugabe in August this year that the local unit will be re-introduced. Some officials in Mugabe’s Zanu PF party have called for the reintroduction of the Zimbabwean dollar to help ease liquidity challenges in the economy.

Biti said since September, revenues have collapsed and the government cannot meet its wage bill and other obligations.

“The government has been borrowing to pay the wage bill, in the process committing the cardinal sin that you do not borrow for consumption or recurrent expenditure,” Biti told reporters.

“To borrow close to $300 million in a space of 100 days is irresponsible and unacceptable, more so when it is being done behind the back of Parliament.”

The ex-Finance minister, who is also MDC secretary-general, said since there was no Overseas Development Assistance and Foreign Direct Investment flowing into Zimbabwe, it was inevitable that a solution must be found to monetise the domestic debt, which he predicted to be around $1 billion by year end.

“The easy and inevitable solution will be to print the Zimbabwean dollar and unleash the cataleptic energy of the printing press,” he said.

Biti’s comments on the re-introduction of the local currency comes on the back of increased speculation that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) subsidiary, Fidelity Printers was of late re-engaging its former employees in preparation to mint the Zimbabwe dollar.

But Fidelity Printers and the Reserve Bank have both dismissed speculation on the return of the Zim dollar.

“As monetary authorities, we wish to assure the business community and members of the public that there are no plans to reintroduce the Zimbabwean dollar in the near future,” acting Reserve Bank governor Charity Dhliwayo said last week.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said the regime will continue indefinitely but Tony Hawkins, the head of the University of Zimbabwe’s Graduate School of Management said the tightening liquidity in the economy could force a rethink and that there was always the risk that politicians would seek a “superficially attractive” way out to finance campaign promises.

“I suspect — perhaps fear — that the government will opt for some dual currency option,” said Hawkins in a recent presentation of the 2014 economic outlook.

Biti noted it would be difficult to revert back to the local currency under the current economic environment but said government will railroad its return nonetheless.

“It’s impossible to go back to your own currency once you have dollarised,” he said.

“This is because currencies strive on trust and confidence and the Zimbabwean populace have no trust in the Zimbabwean dollar.

“Only Panama in 1904 was successful in re-introducing its local currency after it had dollarised.”

But Biti said the Zimbabwean dollar will be forced on those sectors that cannot afford to resist it such as parastatals and civil servants.

Unfortunately, he said, this risks creating a very disproportionate parallel market.

The lawyer-cum-politician predicted that government would next year fail to pay civil servants due to the ballooning current account deficit.

“What we are likely to see early next year is a new lexicon of staggered payments for civil servants salaries,” Biti said. “This will stem from the fact that at the moment government is struggling to pay
bonuses, which on its own is a criminal offence and unacceptable.

“There has been de facto shut down of government. Line ministries are now starved of resources and have basically ground to a halt.”

Turning to the 2014 National Budget, Biti said Chinamasa would present a fictitious budget considering that there were no resources to fund it.

“In this era of cash budgeting, you don’t plan to present a deficit-financing budget,” Biti said.

“On Thursday Chinamasa will present a Mickey-Mouse budget because there are no resources to back it up. That’s why Chinamasa had initially refused to present it,” he said.

Comments (52)

What a sorry state of affairs in Zimboland. So Chinamasa has been borrowing to pay govt workers as no income is coming into gvt coffers? It's becoming clear every day that political rhetoric and lies cannot substitute good economic management. ZANU PF has gone beyond its sell-by date.

Feldman Bandura - 18 December 2013

Biti stop talking shit because you are out of that finance ministry.Your MDC-T had no contribution in introducing the foreign currency in Zimbabwe.All you are able to do is to criticise without offering solutions as contributions in parliament.SHUT-UP Biti and your crew.

alloys - 18 December 2013

mr biti should be helpful and constructive instead of looking foward to the fall of his motherland.

dizz - 18 December 2013

Please Mbiti, or is it Biti give us a break. Your are telling us that when you were in charge; you were busy borrowing in order to meet government daily expenditure......... Now the irony is that Chinamasa is following your footsteps, so you are now complaining. So you are telling us that what you left in the coffers disappeared. How much is it? If it has been stolen: your the first complainant either to ZRP or ACC. Report now, why wait for too long. During your time nobody criticized you, but you still failed to deliver. The problem is that you are still in election mode yet the majority of Zimbambweans are looking forward to develop their motherland. Your shadow Ministry of Finance is contemplating to introduce the z$. Our finance Minister has well defined communication lines. Please shut-up your beak.

ivhu raramba - 18 December 2013

vana biti tinyararirei apa hurovha hwanetsa mave kungorotomoka pese pese siya vana patrick vaite basa ravo shadow minister my foot nonsense chitojaira chinamasa mutambe mese

nyashafarai - 18 December 2013

@ivhu raramba, you are pathetic! The problem with zimbabweans is that they donot want to be told the truth. Are you too blind to see that this country is going to crush in less than 2 months. Wake up and smell the coffee. Wether you are CIO or what, this is the problem with these institutions you are too partisan you think you belong to ZANU PF. NO!!!!! Why do you choose to hide your head in the sand thinking kuti that will solve the economic collapse of this country. Please tell the leadership the truth. Its you and people like you who will die the chefs will not give a damn at you. And you think the public does not know that you are blaming the leadership wrangle with the Civil Servants Unions as the causer for your failure to award salary increaments. When the HE was promising the salary increaments and improved conditions of services for the public servants were there unions involved. If the HE is sincere why doesn't he increase unilaterally. My friend let me tell you THERE IS NO MONEY. THE DIAMONDS ROBBERS HAVE LOOTED EVERYTHING OUT OF ZIMBABWE. ITS SO SAD!

TRIPPLE G - 18 December 2013

utter rubbish...this rejected politician....Biti failed all Zimbabweans these past 4 what now...UTTER RUBBISH....

silungisani ndlovu - 18 December 2013

Daily News, dont take us for fools. You are pointedly misrepresenting what Biti had said. Biti and Daily News are on a mission to cause panic in the general population in the hope of putting pressure on Zanu. Think again Biti. And can u explain to me hw an economy based on agriculture and mining is going to grow by 1.5% when the 2 said sectors are going to shrink by at least 20% as you said?

Pissd off Zimbo - 18 December 2013

The disease is getting to his brain. So forgive him.

godfrey gudo - 18 December 2013

Biti is HIV positive and should seek treatment. I think it is affecting his thinking.

godfrey gudo - 18 December 2013


king - 18 December 2013

The least said about the two morons above - the appropriately named Godfrey Gudo (baboon) and the one so-called King - the better. What demented imbeciles!

Musorodamba - 18 December 2013

izvi hazvibatsiri izvi kana tichinevanhu vanofunga saana nyasha naanaalloy naana ivhu. saka munoreva here kuti hamusikuona kwatirikuenda. kutoudzwa the truth munoramba, bva muchamamanenhamo.

Gabarinocheka - 18 December 2013

Tichaona anoreva chokwadi very soon. Only idiots believe that this visionless government has money!!!! Most of these contributors have never been employed and do not understand what's happening at the banks right now. Tengesai majusi card makanyarara!!!!! Tukai but muchamama!

Tichaona - 18 December 2013

People why dont we accept the truth, we are being forewarned here by former Minister of Finance, this is not politics but situation on the ground. Let us be realistic hama dzangu, zviri kuitika zvese izvi zvekuti teachers were promised their salaries and bonuses on the 16th of December kukawanikwa kusina bonus but salaries chete hazvina kumboitika, and pay day ya13 December was changed to the 16th just a few days before the 13th. Surely its a sign that government haina mari. Ko iyo US$5M yainzi Biti airamba kutipa ko zvapava navaChinamasa ngavachitipaka mari. What has happened to the promised Token increment, before the end of the year according to HE the President of Zimbabwe.

mazvita - 18 December 2013

takadyara sora saka tichakohwa sara, hurumende haina mari

Johannes Kwangwari - 18 December 2013

Who is You BIti basa Rakarepa Murikuhukureiko dzava shungu here inga makawana rimwe rekuita soliciter/lawyer ra GOno saka kip quiet

biri Mhondoro yemvura - 18 December 2013

I can see from this that not a single lesson has been learned from the passing of Madiba.. The midnight hour approaches for all of Africa, the Chinese are slowly but surely taking hold of your country, and when they harness the people of Africa, to plow the lands of Africa to feed their vast population, will the truth of what I am trying to tell you be seen. There are I am sure many, many Madela's among you and yet you all use yesterday to write tomorrows history, nothing of the past will heal the future. Unite, use your vote with your heads and your hearts, not past history! Live for this day, use it well and you will still build the tomorrow that Mr Mandela dreamed of. Nkosi Sekalele Africa.

Judith Petrou - 18 December 2013

May I with respect point out that the dreadful language, the awful charges, the cruel words that are used in the comments above are what fuel the fire, that bruise and you comment think only of the great black men of the past and the statements they made using only good and kind language. Examples............"I have a dream" ..........."children are not born hating, they are taught to hate" I always turn my mind back to my childhood, it was the people who spoke and taught me with kindness and gentle words that I remember 73 years later, those that were cruel remain in my memory but they have no strength in my future life.

Judith Petrou - 18 December 2013

iwe biti nyarara shamwari, u are instilling fear, ziva zve law firm yako and leave us alone

biggers - 18 December 2013

its interesting to note that people are far away from the trueth, Biti never missed the Budget timelines, never postponed the gvt pay-date, ques were never experienced, cash crisis had never been seen, Biti instituted the eat what you kill mantra that saw even Zanu pf emulating him, ask Mugabe, he will tell you that he is the best purse manager of all time, over and above Biti is not jobless, he is still an MP and a full time lawyer(BEST) dealing with high profile cases that charging a million from Gono is not a problem, for progress 'sake leave the brain washed green bombers to hate him but they will come to terms with the truth. BITI murisimbi mudhara.

garwe - 18 December 2013

rig the economy tione. muchamuevedza biti mati madii . tell the idots . you cant hide a bad economy zim is a basket case just go in a supermarket and try and count local products ana idiots

zvombo - 18 December 2013

The truth is inavoidable but it still hurts. Good jod Biti.

DIXIE - 18 December 2013

What can an opposition politician like Biti say? He always wishes doom & gloom for our nation. He wishes things to get from bad to worse for to create a reason for them to usurp power through illegal means. Such kind of rhetoric is retrogressive, malicious, unpatriotic, & selfish.

Sabelo - 18 December 2013

Biti has done anything bad. He's only telling every Zimbo to plan ahead. It is true, how can you write out a budget if you dont have money in your reserves. Kudos to Biti, we'll remain patriotic to this country until all the ancestoral governing spirits are gone

Tichafa - 18 December 2013

Biti tell us more, those who do not want to listen should think of what happened in the times of Noah. " Build your Ark before the rains, not when it is raining." What has been happening at Hwange Colliery, National Railways and other companies, in two months to come will be happening to the Civil Servants, begining with teachers. Its high time we should accept the truth

tobias - 18 December 2013

Everyone who is dismissing the facts that have been raised by Biti, will come around one day nhamo yarova.. Nhamo haineyi nekuti munoba maElections. Nhamo haidi Nikuv. Muchamama madinga.. bhora mugedhe-e-e! Ncxa

Joyce Mujuru - 18 December 2013

Biti instilling fear?? Hahahaha! Argh Some of these comments are quite unbelievable.. You don't want to be told that the government does not have money? hahahahaha... Zvakafanana nekuramba kunopiwa maResults ekuChikoro.. hahaha

Joyce Mujuru - 18 December 2013

Cry beloved country if these guys had guns Biti would be killed for his opinion!! What happened to freedom of expression, is nt Biti a Zimbo, why shouldnt he have his opinion be it wrong or right? Tolerance please, lets face the urguement no mater who said it. Crush it with facts not insults!! Munonyadzisa imi!! AFTER ALL whats very wrong with our own sovereign currency. Tichasvikakupi nemari yavavengi?

Tsanos - 18 December 2013

Biti might be wrong! Where is the bonus for the CIVIL SERVANTS? Please answer me.

Chimbo - 18 December 2013

Yu the man Biti...Tel them like it is.Truth hurts!!

ReV.Comm Council - 18 December 2013

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. Sometime ago we were promised things like houses for all in 2000, health for all, prosperity for all, jobs for all by the same politicians. There was optimism when Gono came in and Gonomania became talk of the town. Jonathan Moyo once promised us that sanctions would only hurt the ruling elite. Promises and promises. Now Biti has said it from an intellectual point of view and the next thing all are up in arms. Why? It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies. Someone said Biti failed him/her for four years. Yes four years, now there is Comrade Patrick Chinamasa as the Finance Minister I want to see civil servants picketing his office ordering him to increase their salaries. All the noise they made that time, they cannot make that noise now. Why didn't they do that when they did not receive bonuses? Hypocrites. Hamunyare Zvakanaka hamudi. That Zim dollar is coming and by the end of 2014 we will all be crying. let us all remember one thing, the road to tyranny we must never forget begins with the destruction of the truth.

ZIMBO - 18 December 2013

If you have any money in the bank get it out as I am sure your accounts will be relaced by Zim dollar accounts!

JOHN OSWALD - 18 December 2013

When I cannot use my real name to comment in a forum, that forum is not worth my comment nor is my comment worthy to be read.

Fungai Chiposi - 18 December 2013

When Smith made his never in 1000 years speech maybe he was reflecting it would take 100 years to sort out the mess after independence ?

Mark - 18 December 2013

that should have read 1000 years to sort out the mess - I feel deeply for the folks in Zim - but you wanted them - you got them!

Mark - 18 December 2013

Yes, that's right, don't borrow what you don't have, print it ! We don't use foreign currency - we use travellers cheques ! Same mentality, 30 years later - no wonder the country is f@cked !

Emmet - 18 December 2013

At all Zanoids on this forum, alloys, dizz, biggers, Joyce Mujuru, nyashafarai, on this forum, China-masa mese muchasura chando, nekubuda ndufe as you continue burying your heads in the sand like ostriches murizvitoto zvisinafungi ba muchasvinura kwaedza please

L. M. Makoni Nyati - 18 December 2013

Failure is predictable. Money is but a media of exchange you can print all you like just make sure you produce the goods. Otherwise 5000% inflation is achievable.

Stan Dziva - 18 December 2013

I say let's just wait and see.

Nyika Ndeyedu - 19 December 2013

History repeats itself again. It seems Rhodesians/Zimbabweans just cannot admit the truth. When I lived there under sanctions we could not admit how bad things were because we lived it every day. It was only when we emigrated that we could see the truth. Just how backward and deprived we were as a population. With the internet it would seem that people would see just what is out there and what is really going on but I guess if the government speaks its own propaganda to stay in power at the expense of its citizens and to line their own pockets nothing will change until the citizens rise up and change the government.

Peter - 19 December 2013

Some people amaze me. Instead of arguing on facts they resort to crude insults. It just goes to show how shallow minded some people are. Biti is exercising his constitutional rights to freedom of speech on a very strategic national issue. Engage him with your counter-arguments and not insults

Tongo - 19 December 2013

Economics do not make sense to some politicians and they think force will solve all problems that is why they refuse to listen to the truth

kyle - 19 December 2013

You do not need to have money to draw a budget. After all a budget is a plan where you forecast income and expenditure and then find ways of raising the funds to meet the expenditure. I think people are being very emotional and irrational in their arguments. Biti is entitled to his views but do you think he would ever talk anything positive about ZANU PF? Surely that would be like expecting to see the Sahara desert in England. Let's focus on trying to solve the economy becoz at the end of the day everyone who lives in Zimbabwe will suffer the consequences on any failure of the economy. Tose tinongotambura whether ZANU PF or MDC or other party that may crop up. So lets be positive. ZANU won the election and will be in power for the next five years so do you want to wait for 2018 to solve the problems? And remember ZANU is an old wily fox who will in all likelyhood win the 2018 elections, again. So whither Zimbabwe. Lets all put our efforts in trying to revive our country and bury our political differences.

mutape - 19 December 2013

how can that be possible, have things changed? why was it discarded in the first place

flyby - 19 December 2013

kana chipostora chotaurwa nevakuru vekare tererai. Tichamama nenhamo maiweee

baba titi - 19 December 2013

The economy is not stable but we need our own currency. We seem to be in transition continually. If there are events that should happen before we introduce our own currency can the people know or at least can we discuss them on these bloggs. Lets give the government clues on what we feel should be done. To say 'one does not need a money to prepare a budget' is I believe a statement which presents itself for discussion. Some people in the world are that we are a country which lacks knowledge. Anybody who reads these blogs will find it difficult to think otherwise.

tawanda - 19 December 2013

Haiwa Biti, you had your chance and you failed dismally. Usaita fuza rokubvuma kuti you were Africa's best finance minister. Whoever said that was insulting Africa. You were Zimbabwe's worst finance minister ever. Sure iwe pachako ungazvienzanisa nanaChidzero, Chambati chero wedu 'spineless'' Simbarakaramba Makoni.''

Ian Mazhazhate - 19 December 2013

Just back from Harare after previous visit in 1998. Shocking. Truly shocking. Whole place has air of remorseless decay. Rusting, peeling signposts [those that remain], dead lampposts leaning over, many already fallen. Only ones actually lit up are outside the President's pad. Who now travels in Imperial style by helicopter to Chinoyi. Industrial sites a shadow of their former selves, many closed yards. Potholes, blackouts, water shortages. Desperate police roadblocks designed to extort money. ZBC 'inspectors' trying to catch you out for not having a 'listener's licence' for the radio IN YOUR CAR. The only place [to my knowledge] in the world where this kind of madcap scheme exists. Breadbasket to basket case. It beggars belief anyone, ANYONE, has the nerve to try and deny what Biti is saying. No doubt CIO plants paid to flatter ZANU and rubbish any and all critics. Zimbos are like the frog in a slowly heating saucepan. Unless the frog jumps, it will boil to death.

Ex Zimbo - 19 December 2013

Those who think Zimbabwe Gvt. is solvent should at least prove it. When are going to see our own currency since we hate the West influence. Pasi ne hypocrisy!

Tony Survivor - 19 December 2013

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