Mugabe's bond notes trigger Zim-dollar fears

HARARE - There is palpable fear among ordinary Zimbabweans that the country has plumbed the debilitating economic depths of 2007/2008 when shops were empty and inflation hit world-record levels, resulting in untold pain and suffering for the majority of citizens.

As a result, the talk among most ordinary folk in Harare yesterday, who have some money in banks, was how quickly they could withdraw all their funds — intentions that triggered a fear of a run on banks which could worsen the economic crisis.

At the same time, and as Zimbabwe lurches towards its latest full-blown economic disaster — spawned by the continuing lack of political legitimacy and sound governance in the country — analysts and opposition parties alike told the Daily News that it was time that President Robert Mugabe and his “economically-illiterate” lieutenants vacated office.

This comes after the hardworking governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, John Mangudya, announced on Wednesday that he would introduce new local “bond notes” within the next few months, to ease the country’s acute shortage of cash — while staunchly denying that he was returning the much derided Zim-dollar back.

The bond notes in denominations of $2, $5, $10 and $20 would be an extension of the bond coins currently in circulation — to be backed by a $200 million loan facility from the Cairo-based African Export Import Bank.

However, former Finance minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Tendai Biti, insisted yesterday that the RBZ move was a cynical plot to return the Zim-dollar via the backdoor.

“The return of the Zimbabwean dollar marks the gross admission by this regime that it has failed and failed in absolute terms and that it will drag everyone along in the plunge to abyss that now awaits this economy.

“It is a cynical, disrespectful and contemptuous move that has absolutely no logic, sense or justification on any rational ground whatsoever,” he said, adding that to the extent that Zimbabwe’s productive capacity was near to zero, this meant that the country could not afford as yet to bring back its currency.

Opposition leader and former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the introduction of the bond notes reflected “economic illiteracy”.

“Bond coins, bond notes and zvihuta (quails) is a telling concoction of failure. It can only confirm a bond leadership in government. How do you back bond notes with a loan?

“This Zanu PF government is like a father who cuts a child’s legs because he cannot afford school shoes!” Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, said.

Tapiwa Mashakada, the MDC shadow minister for Finance, said Zimbabweans were “kissing goodbye” the last vestiges of macroeconomic stability.

“It is very crystal clear that the government is warming its printing press at Fidelity Printers. History repeats itself. Zimbabwe has back-slided to its 2008 economic comatose position again.

“These are the consequences of a stolen election, corruption, illicit financial outflows, lack of fiscal discipline, externalisation, a growing public debt and the decimation of production,” he said.

“The economy cannot be rigged. Confidence is at its lowest level. Very soon the Zanu PF government will start printing money again. There will be a run on deposits, followed by capital flight,” he said, adding that the next looming disaster was government not able to pay salaries and other transfers.

“Faced with this crisis, government is likely going to completely de-dollarise by December 2016. This will plunge Zimbabwe back to the era of hyperinflation,” Mashakada predicted.

Biti concurred with Mashakada that the only feasible thing that could be done to mitigate the economic crisis was to dissolve government and Parliament.

“Indeed the reintroduction of the Zim-dollar will have catastrophic consequences to the remaining constructs of Zimbabwe’s pseudo economy. It is a decision that will see many of the remaining companies reach breaking point and simply shut down.

“Few are prepared to relive the nightmare of the meltdown period of 2007 and 2008. The move will also engineer a fresh wave of externalisation, under-banking, tax avoidance and evasion,” Biti said.

He added that with a mere $303 million in reserves, representing only four weeks of import cover, Zimbabwe did not have the requisite export base to support a local currency.

He also took issue with Mangudya’s announcement that with effect from May 5,40 percent of all new US dollar receipts would be converted to rand in order to promote wider usage of currencies in the multi-currency basket.

“The directive that 40 percent of bank deposits will now be converted to the South African Rand is blatantly unconstitutional and must be challenged in the courts.

“It amounts to a devaluation of the US dollar by at least 20 percent in real terms given the volatility of the Rand. The move will leave a desperate work force already hit with low disposable income further impoverished,” Biti said.

McDonald Lewanika, a London School of Economics graduate, said part of the challenge was that confidence in the state and the RBZ was low.

“My sense is that this may spiral into another crisis as in the previous years where the face value of the bonds may be rejected or lowered, with hard cash having a greater value on markets parallel to the ones that the RBZ administers.

“Unfortunately, this interim measure while it may temporarily stem the flow, it is akin to peppering a crack with the possibility of it cracking wider open with greater consequences,” he said.

Economist John Robertson said the government had failed the people of Zimbabwe.

“Look, I have always said Zimbabwe’s economy has better prospects with a change of government. That is all the country needs. Now that they want to re-introduce the local currency, people will probably begin to grasp the situation,” he said.

The veteran economist said printing more money was not going to rid Zimbabwe of its seemingly never-ending economic problems.

Analyst Issis Mwale was also of the view that Mangudya was not being “entirely truthful” about the true nature of the bond notes.

“I had the liberty of going through his statement and my worry comes on the bit that he says he will reconfigure the RTGS system to accommodate a bond currency. This makes it obvious that he is sneaking back a local currency.

“Yes, it may not be the Zim-dollar, but it is a local currency that is coming back, however he puts it,” she said.

Last week, the Daily News reported that as Zanu PF bigwigs continue to bludgeon each other politically, the lot of the majority of Zimbabweans was getting worse by the day — with many living in squalor and abject poverty.

It said a visit to many high density areas in the capital Harare left one sad beyond words.

Dry taps, rivers of sewage and heaps of uncollected garbage were a common sight that many people under the age of 30 took as the “norm”.

Economic and political analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said the country’s dying economy, as well as the on-going cash crisis were a symptom of deep-seated problems emanating from Zanu PF’s failed rule of the past three and half decades.

“What we are going through is largely a political process and unless and until we sort out our politics, there will be no economic recovery. To project what the future holds for Zimbabwe, there is need to take a look at the political dynamics in the governing party.

“It is clear we are in the last stages of the Mugabe era and if one takes a microscopic view of the political dynamics as amplified by the media, you will see it’s is all coming to an end,” prominent academic Ibbo Mandaza said.

Comments (54)

This is the time if ZANU PF leaders were actually for the people they were supposed to surrender. Things are tough for the people of Zimbabwe. There is nothing the people can do but why not just respect human life and give chance to other people to lead Zimbabwe. People are short changed and have completely lost confidence in the banking sector, the same as they have lost confidence in Mugabe and his government. We have tried everything possible but ZANU PF leaders are selfish. Ladies and gentleman we are going to die.

Zvarwadzazvino - 6 May 2016

Expecting a different outcome when nothing has fundamental changed!....Way to go hey!!

Loud Speaker - 6 May 2016

Kkkkkkkkk yaa heey you can rig elections but you can never rig the economy .But it is a shame that we all know that all this looming disaster is caused by one person and it is Mugabe and we doing nothing about him .You can bring other theories what what what what but the problem is Mugabe finish and klaa . Bringing back the zim dollar from the dead is no way near to solving our finished economy .The money is just going to be useless as the previous one and we do not know why a person like Mugabe with 12 degrees can not understand that . But this is ukudelela by this granny .More shiit is about to happen please fasten your belts .

Diibulaanyika - 6 May 2016

Some of us for saw it when he introduced bond coins and knew that he was leading us to the grave of the dead zim dollar so he could find excuses to exhume it demty .

Chimedza matombo - 6 May 2016

the economy of zim is in the ICU and the doctors (mangudya & rhobhati) are clueless! the nurses are busy drinking alcohol in the hospital lobby(rbz). the oxygen tank had just run empty and the the patient is on free air(bond notes). those who are kind can send their condolences in advance!

SaManyika Chaiye - 6 May 2016

@diibulaanyika,this is no coincidence,yu disappear and only to return with the bond notes,explain please

jojo - 6 May 2016

Can you not be serious for a moment @jojo? Country is looking down the barrel and all you can do is make snide remarks?

Dunlop Munjanja - 6 May 2016


Doudonier - 6 May 2016

I MEANT SAY NO TO THE BOND COINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doudonier - 6 May 2016

Mugabe has made all zimbos to lose their dignity in the world. He naturally does not have any dignity or charisma to lead. This time zim will be worse than 2008 bcoz of this won out thief magabe

Benito - 6 May 2016

True, we need to sort out our politics-that is another GNU,definitely,we can't move in this disastrous direction.

Gen Spinola - 6 May 2016

With an ever skimming ZANU PF, it does'nt suprise me that the cash shortages are artficial to create a demand they will satisfy with bond notes. We know 2018 is around the corner and they don't hesitate printing money to fund their violent campaign

Sound - 6 May 2016

15billion unaccounted for..and now here comes "bond" notes backed by a 200million loan from a bank called "African Export Import bank. Sounds like a script from "bond movies"

X-MAN IV - 6 May 2016

Our economic situation does not require lipstick, sugar coating or fire brigade approach to fix it. Zanu pf government consistently keep rendering "first aid" to our certified dead economy. It will never wake up. A new economy is required, and it must receive all basic economic diet to flourish. Zanu pf gvt must address the basic principles and make the ground fertile for economy to grow. Production locally is non existance if its there the cost are to high. USD will go out becoz we just buy/import. Respect of property rights, rule of law, make the country be that place where every stinking rich person wants to put his money into. These bond notes and 200m its like filling a car fuel tank whose engine is not there and hope it move. The actions of zanu pf government are becoming scary than laughable.

X-MAN IV - 6 May 2016

a govt fo shonas by shonas,this whole chaos is symptomic to the problems shonas have dragged all zimbos into,a culture difference,other tribes abhor corruption,in shona when one steal from his employers he is a 'gamba',shonas have all the educational qualifications in zim,all acquired fraudelantly,and they are proud of it,mandevere ma bharanzi coz they dont steal,thats the perception among shonas,this country was once well run by a whiteman,a shona with the support of other shonas has ruined it,who can trust a SHONA to turn around this economy,zimbabwe is doomed as long as one tribe occupies all offices in this country,its time shonas gave others a chance,shonas are not even ashamed to rig grade seven results,admit its a tribal problem

analyst - 6 May 2016

a shona president,a shona rbz governor,a shona minister of finance,a shona head of zesa,a shona minister dokora,a shona commisioner police,a shona commisioner of zimra,a shona head hwange colliery,a shona head airzim,am tempted to agree with @analsyt,this is a tribal issue more than an economic or poor governance issue

hmmmm - 7 May 2016

@jojo at first i used to take you serious but as you when on contributing here i realised ukuthi no mani this is a zanga you have small mind always out of topic and always talking about what other pple are saying here instead of talking about what the daily news has put for comments .So i am not bothered anymore bcoz every place you go you find idiots so jojo is idiot of this platform never mind him lizanga .

Diibulaanyika - 7 May 2016

True guys this is not how to run a country .With 9 tribal groups and then we have one tribe working every govt department including in places where they are not dominant and if you go back to the time of white rule all tribes worked in govt and each tribe controlled every thing in places they are dominant .But what do we get from zanu Shona shona shona every where and this is totally tribalism which is more dangerous than AIDS bcoz it brings hate among pple .Time to take out Mugabe he created tribalism it never existed during white rule .We do not want what happened in Rwanda to happen here but if this shona shona thing is not fixed fast i see it coming quickly .

Siginya mbila - 7 May 2016

Zim syndrom of sniffing for coins came yu cried fowl.even tho thr was a seriouse shortage of coins,the rand coin.sme even selling rand coins for dollars.yu stil cried fowl play nomore coins problem.yu wr not forced to take the bond coin,bt market forces told yu its wiser.its the coin everyone prefers bond note is here to fil in same problems ,of dollar notes,gues wht ,same buffoons crying FPS again.Mangudya goon.sort it out.just keep the policians out ,dont take their distress calls.dnt even allow them to visit yu at home.just do yo job.this move was long overdue.

viola gwena - 7 May 2016

Yu not any cleverer than a mupostori father,.doctors save his kids frm measles ,bt still hides his kids on the doctors next visit.our education system missed smething on yu.we may need an economics sterm thing again.

viola gwena - 7 May 2016

Introducing this form of currency isn't just madness but suicide simply because we are producing money that we don't have and this is likely to trigger all sorts of negatives. It will mean that the Government and banks will cling on to all the real $'s and giving us this fake currency. This ZANU PF Government is reducing this country to rubble.....sheer madness.

Mbewa - 7 May 2016

participants must shut up or not contribute if they have little or no understanding of economics,the daily news does not force people to comment,if yu have no grasp of economics shut up,economics is unlike politics where yu can just spew your nonsense,first appraise yourself with what is meant by 'bond' in economics b4 displaying your ignorance,for starters those bonded notes are not even going to be printed local,the federal reserve cannot allow yu to bond your currency to the dollar without the necessary support,its one thing having currency speculators hitting the bond notes and another preventing their circulation,zim uses a multi currency and we have been overpaying civil servants,instead of sabotaging the good governer and mourning lets support his intervention,most of yu dont even have the dollars that yu fear will be turned into bond currency

truth - 7 May 2016

Together we can change this pipo opposition parties are not doing much as we expert ndi save chete na biti varikungo mira panya idzi hatichada zveku shandiswa no no no no lets end this if it means violent ngatizvi iteyi sezvaka itwa Gaddafi zviya nhamo yopera kachembere ngakaende zvekukarega kachirara karipa basa takatarisa hatichada isu

mukanya - 7 May 2016

@Mbewa,. The bond notes are NOT substituting hard currency.Its actualy complimending the US currency .its axactly wth the bond coin.why are pple now discarding the ra d coin prefering the bond coin,? I will help yu wth an answer,its becoz the bond coin has more value than the rand coin.The bond coin does not depreciate bt the rand does.Accept the bond note.its the correct thing to do,even tho yu are not forced to use it.yu can ignore it and carryon using yo dollar note,its perfectly normal.the only pro lem culd be that I may choose to price my bread in bond notes, that will be yo problem.I am in my sixties n did economics in the seventies.

viola gwena - 7 May 2016

@ viola,tell the less educated about what we call the THIERS LAW in economics

truth - 7 May 2016

You can hallucinate here trying to lie that bond notes will work but common sense tells us that some one with bad reputation of failure for f------king 40 yrs every thing they do will not work .All those who have benefited from the chaos try fool us bond are shiit and they will not work finish and klaa

Diibulaanyika - 7 May 2016

@diibulaanyika,show us yo big mind by putting up economic theories not your idiotic views,as yu can see expected your brother @samanyika is out of depth on this thats why he is conspicious by his absence ,let @ viola,a student of economics during the war assist yu to comprehend

jojo - 7 May 2016

When you have a government that promises millions of jobs but only manages to deliver more unemployment. A party embroiled in a nasty succession fight with no one seemingly in control. A president who spends his time gallivanting around the world spending millions the country can ill afford. No food production of any note with most of the farms in the hands of clueless idiots who have no idea on how to farm, hence the need to import food. When you have everyone in power on a mission to make themselves rich at the expense of the worker and ordinary Zimbo, you get to where we are now. I dont care how good an economist one is, there is no other way to explain this bond situation.

Dunlop Munjanja - 7 May 2016

Although there is some merit to what you wrote @truth, please stop lecturing pple about economics. I agree with you: spewing nonsense and vitriol is of no use in any type of debate, and especially so in public discourse. However, the proposal by Mangundya is like trying to create a dam out of a fast flowing river using mud and sand. Bonded notes, or whatever they will try will not work. This forum is not suitable for such nerdy discussions. Zimbabwe's multi-currency system should have been a temporary measure if the government was prepared to change and embrace free market/ neo-liberal economics, stem corruption and the curse of externalization of currency

gudo - 7 May 2016

@viola. I hope you learned Graham's law and the three stages. In first period new money is introduced at fixed parity with old money with asset backing to finance a budget deficit. It is readily accepted and replaces part of the old money. In second period govt continues printing new, now bad money by exchanging with old money to finance continuing deficit and thus loose official reserves. In both of these periods the balance of payment shows a deficit. In period 3 with reserves drained, govt tries to maintain legal tender at parity of the new and old money by making it legal tender and enforcing its use by penalties. As a result bad money has driven out good money out of the portfolio of the public. Graham's law works and the balance of payment is in deficit

bexilford - 7 May 2016

@bexiford,its greshams law not grahams law yu half educated economist

truth - 7 May 2016

@gudo,to mitigate against externalisation,the governor prefered to bond the loan facility,if he had releases the loan,the cash would have evaporated from the market,because to us zimbos,the dollar is more than a medium of exchange but also a storage of value,however,let me point out that wityhout the support of the population,its an uphill task,this is not about zanu but about zimbabwe and the sooner fellow citizens realise that the better

truth - 7 May 2016

@ Bexi. That wuld have been good advice to Gono,yu too late.maybe the wording bond is confusing yu.just call it small treasury bill.the concept is the same.

viola gwena - 7 May 2016

@truth This was a spelling mistake but Gresham's still applies on bonds, externalisation and money as storage of value. The introduction of bonds will make people panic and withdraw money from banks and store it themselves before the bonds are introduced. The danger lies not in the bonds themselves but in imprudent or dishonest central banking. The best solution would be to encourage use of Rands, since 60% of our trade is in Rands. The long term solutions are to increase exports, encourage tourism and reduce government spending and unnecessary imports. A govt should not spend more 80% of income on salaries. A good example is if they spent $5miilion on repair of Bulawayo and Hwange power station, they would recover that money in 6 months on import savings . It beggars belief that HCC spent $23million on imported equipment without proper valuation and that they pay more than 60%of revenue to managers. There should be a cost benefit analysis in every govt decision.

bexilford - 7 May 2016

mai mujuru can do better

mbada - 8 May 2016

@viola We have a trade deficit with import bills of $490 m against exports of $167m in first quarter. This does not include presidential and ministerial travel expenses. This cash has to be found somewhere.

bexilford - 8 May 2016

@viola & @truth - you're unsuccessfully trying to win over people to support a govt and policies they don't trust, and which they probably didn't vote for. Over- expenditure by this govt was inevitable - given that size of cabinet vs pop size of 15m is bigger than for e.g. UK's (with pop 5x bigger). Supporting this govt & its policies is becoming more unsustainable by the hour.

Sagitarr - 9 May 2016

@Sagi.Yu see its important to stick to the topic of discusion,for the purpose good reasoning.we talking of the introduction of bond notes,from reserve bank.this is not policy at all.its a reaction to the day to day banking n cashflow management.that simple.this 200m is so small to affect total budget.its called wallet transaction.truth rightfully called it Theirs .which is very true and not Greshams as alluded by Bexi.Bt in all this I applaud the 2 for raising debate to a level that has kept the lemons out of this debate.we hope mangudya will keep the Frogs away from his endeavours and carryon good work.

viola gwena - 9 May 2016

the zim problems dont need these bookish theories becoz the problems starts with the corrupt pple running the kantry! economic theory work in a functional economy that is manned by ethical professionals who respect & adhere to issues of governance. you cant talk of economic theories when the captains of industries are registering their landcruisers as raums in their books of accounts just to evade statutory compliance. hakuna mafuta anobata patsvina yakadaro. the entire govt needs a massive overhaul before cheap commentantors and school leavers start talking about application of theory to practice. mangudya must eat the pitbull and face reality, so should rhobhati and his clique of bootlickers. otherwise we are in for it with these morons from zanu.

SaManyika Chaiye - 9 May 2016

In english ,samanyika is saying he doesnt see anything in practice on bond theory to him.

viola gwena - 9 May 2016

Sory,I meant "anything practical" he is rubbing kit off on me now.

viola gwena - 9 May 2016

Sory,I meant "anything practical" he is rubbing it off on me now.

viola gwena - 9 May 2016

hie antie vee! gideon tried the casino stuff what did it yield? all the zerorisation? neva did pple benefit; they suffered instead! travelers cheques came & failed! agro-checks; what is new to zimbabwe vhiora?? what else is mangudya going to do? he is trying to change the name from bearer cheques to bond notes! both terms refer to negotiable instruments and they have the same function & characteristics. the economy is dead and these bush remedies masquareding as policy will not rescusitate it. thats my point antie vee; dont just clash & oppose for the sake of it hanti?

SaManyika Chaiye - 9 May 2016

@Sanyanyika, .i doubt if yu understood viola s comment.she is using economics terminology.she dont mean lemorns as the actual fruit.and Frogs are politicians that meddle in economic structures.Yu sound a bit conf-----

kays - 9 May 2016

I wish people like @samanyika,Diibu, could refrain from this highly educative discusion.its above their intelect.Truth,jojo,bexford n Viola n Kays seem a notch above all on economics, especially Viola n Truth n Bexiford.

JOMO - 9 May 2016

@viola I am perplexed why you refuse to accept that Gresham's law applies with the bonds. May I remind you that the great English re-coinage of 1696 started with small correction of small amounts and ran out of control because they did not know Gresham's law. It defeated great minds like John Locke and Sir Isaac Newton . So far what has occurred since the introduction of bond coins , Gresham's law has not been falsified since the rand has been driven out from areas bordering SA and the Pula from Botswana border . Excess US$ has been hoarded or externalized until the previous equilibrium has been restored as predicted by the theory in an open market like Zimbabwe. I suggest that you read the works of David Hume, Adam Smith and John Stuart Mills on Gresham's law. What I find interesting is the breaking point when Mills said"As soon as the public sees the process going on, it starts to anticipate the direction which the govt is proceeding and will start to hoard the good money" Was this not demonstrated by the queues. I as suggest you read Friedrick Hayek's The uses of Gresham's law as an illustration in Historical theory. Every central banker should read this. When you mention frogs, i thought you were referring to Aristophanes when he wrote in The Frogs "The best Athenean coins are never found in Athenes". If you visit Victoria Falls , you will see that we are fighting a loosing battle, Zambians trucks come with maize and rice and leave with US$

bexilford - 9 May 2016

@viola@truth I am coming to the conclusion that you do not understand Thiers law. Louis A Thier, 1840 p111 wrote" In all the markets nothing was to be seen but gold and silver and the wages of the lower class were paid in no other medium. One would have imagined that there was no paper in France. The mandats were in the hands of speculators only." " That which had been hidden came forth, that which had quitted France returned" Inflation was so high that the French people did not want French paper but hoarded goods. Clearly this is what happened in Zim in 2009 when people prefered US$ to Zim$ or any other currency. Thiers law says good money drive out bad money whenever the bad money becomes nearly worthless. This is the opposite of Gresham's law. This occurs in the absence of effective legal tender laws where the seller will only accept good money(real money) while the existence of tender laws will cause the buyer to offer only money with the lowest commodity value (bond money) since the seller has no choice but to accept it. He will store or export real money.

bexilford - 10 May 2016

@bexiford,it would appear yu have been researching and since economics is a science,your conclusions are merely priori knowledge,however try not to be too technical and understand that the rbz is not printing money but merely bonding notes to plug externalisation,a layman example would be the RMU, rand monetery union,ie namibia,swaziland,lesotho,eg by having the namibian dollar circulatng alongside the rand at an even rate the namibian central bank is not printing money to fund its deficits but assisting in plugging externalisation of the rand,as for zambian trucks being paid in dollars,since yu are well read yu will know that a single currency has been proffered by SADC for that challengewhether its drought relief or not that maize counts as trade between the two countries and zim and zambia have always settled each other in the greenback,china and russia have agreed to sideline the dollar in transactions amongst themselves,so understand that greshams law is not applicable in our situation because the bond notes are not currency,challenges to the success of the bond notes remain as the political atmosphere is toxicated with opposition politicians scaremongering,and tsvangison already exposing his lack of education but as long as fundamentalsare left to decide,the bond notes will be a succes

truth - 10 May 2016

I worked very hard for my US$, and I would therefore like them left alone!!! I do not appreciate someone pilfering my belongings. We are in this mess due to incompetence....sactions too. But the days of looting are over. Looting peoples accounts is daylight robbery.....its a matter of time when peoples homes will be taken and sold!!!!

Prefer Not To say - 10 May 2016


John - 10 May 2016

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