Special coins consignment delivered

HARARE - A consignment of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s special coins has been delivered from South Africa, businessdaily has learnt.

A central bank official, who preferred anonymity, confirmed the development, but could not disclose the value of the coins batch.

“…the first batch is now already in the country, however, at this moment I cannot tell you how much they are worth,” the source said.

RBZ governor John Mangudya, who recently said the total value of the special coins to be introduced is $40 million, was unavailable for comment.

As part of efforts to address a change crisis — which came upon the introduction of a multi-currency system, dominated by the United States dollar — the central bank moved to introduce the special coins, valued at par with the greenback.

In his 2015 National Budget, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, announced the first batch was going to be received during the first week of this month, with actual circulation starting mid December 2014. “The Reserve Bank will soon embark on campaigns to educate the general public on the features of the coins,” he said.

However, analysts have said uptake of the coins is likely to be dampened by lack of confidence in them as a currency.

Due to previous bad memories with the Zimbabwe dollar, rendered useless due to irrepressible inflation and an economic meltdown, the transacting public is cautious and suspicious that the new coins could be an attempt to reintroduce the shelved local currency.

While the special coins may be forced on the transacting public by market conditions, Cade Zvavanjanja, a local analyst with Greeyps Risk, Efficiency and Development Consultants, said “the issue of confidence is at stake”.

“…honestly, the market does not have confidence in the coins, but then they do not have a choice,” he said.

Despite the public’s suspicion, government insists that introduction of the coins is not an attempt to return the infamous Zimbabwe dollar, but to solve the change crisis. After ditching the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009, Zimbabwe adopted the multi-currency system — a basket of currencies including the South African rand, Japanese yen and Chinese yuan. Ecuador, another country that uses the greenback as its currency, has special coins — centavos — which have the same denomination and value as US coins.

 

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