Panic withdrawals hit local banks

HARARE - Zimbabwe's banking sector has been hit with massive withdrawals by risk-loathing depositors, with banking sector sources indicating that reports of the looming introduction of “bond notes” have further unsettled bank customers.

This comes after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya announced plans to introduce local bond notes and imposed new caps on cash withdrawals in a desperate bid to ease mounting cash shortages.

The RBZ capped bank and ATM withdrawals at $1 000 per card daily and also imposed limits on the amount of cash individuals can take out of the country from the current $5 000 to $1 000.

An acceleration of deposit withdrawals risks worsening a mounting liquidity crunch in a country desperate for cash to revive an economy reeling after stabilising briefly when government adopted a multi-currency regime.

One banking sector source told the Daily News, liquidity in the banking sector was “sharply diminishing.”

He suggested that this could have something to do with reports of the introduction of bond notes, which have been widely viewed as a resurgence of the Zimbabwe dollar.

Panic over the comeback of the Zimbabwe dollar flies in the face of assurances from government ruling out the return of the local currency into circulation soon, despite a liquidity crunch affecting government business.

Another banking sector source said deposits were plummeting due to significant withdrawal levels.

Mangudya clarified to editors on Friday that there were no plans to reintroduce the Zimbabwe dollar through the backdoor.

“We have no hidden agenda. We are not removing the multi-currency system, we’re actually giving it more life through more exports,” he said, adding the 5 percent export incentive will be paid out in bond notes, because if the RBZ paid in US dollars, it will simply vanish, adding his move was actually a $200 million economic stimulus to stimulate local production and exports.

Comments (9)

Who is fooling who? I will withdraw all my cash, even if it means keeping it under the bed. Fortunately I have a fireproof safe at home.

Mbongeni Sakhe - 8 May 2016

Hang on ladies and gentlemen. I have a plan. Let us suspend the government for a year, only one year, then hire a mayor from one of the big cities with an equivalent population to our country to run the affairs of our country. After one year we compare the results. To avoid antagonizing the "shefs" currently running ( or is it ruining) our country, we gaurantee them full pay and perks during the suspension period. Above all, Gushungo ( ne sheche yake Gire) they can still charter Air Zim as they please in the interim. I tell you you will be stunned by the results. I don`t need to be thanked for the idea: this is my national pledge as announced by our very learned minister of education Dr. Dog-ora.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 8 May 2016

It doesn't matter even if you have no hidden agenda Mangudya, noone trusts you, your president, your party and what you stand for. Period. Everyone who works for a living has been let down at some point by your policies for over 35 years. Your audience remains those who blindly support your party and cannot reason on their own.

Sagitarr - 9 May 2016

Withdraw your statement governor Mangudya. This is already destabilising the country. Why go back to the policy which has already failed?

Tendai Murindagomo - 9 May 2016

kkkkkkkk; I for one went to the bank in Feb when the first signs of sneezing showed up! i took my visa cards and visited the banks everyday until I exhausted a few thousand bucks that I was keeping there. I did not left a cent; the few dollars that the ATM could not disburse, i went to a local supermarket and had a cash-back. I learnt the hard way during the time-bank/eng saga & at dllarisation in 2009! i am safely operating from home! tototyira wane ma00s of ,000s mubank! i US$ ka iri; unosara pachena!

SaManyika Chaiye - 9 May 2016

Tru guys we learnt it the hard way and truly the state has learnt it the hard way because even the USD has failed to see a miracle in Willowvale, Southerton, Belmont & etc. We need to introspect as well as Zimbabweans because even if we have our difference politically Mugabe is crying over the missing USD15B and has learnt a lot. He also is an economist and surely with the bond notes bonded as the term mean by African Dev. Bank why not give ourselves a chance. With alluvial platinum and gold coming our way from Gache Gache in my homeland recently hatinyure for we are pregnant with minerals.

Martz - 9 May 2016

@Martz. Your view left me in tatters. You think: 1. the state has learnt something ? 2. Mugabe is crying over the missing USD 15Billion under his pillow ? 3. You went on to insult me when you say Mugabe is an economist. 4. Since when has Mugabe entertained different political view ? If you do not worship his warped view of how the country shoud be run you are declared an enemy of the state. If he was one of us he could have listened to us long back and we could not be struggling to extricate ourselves from the cesspool he landed us. You can forget it, decades of his rule is enough proof to convince you kuti kumhunga hakuna ipwa. Totomirira zuva iro pezvichati godi kumawere kuti zvimwe tingatura mafemo. There is nothing wrong in Zimbabwe except one man and his wife. This is a fact. Pazvichati godi kumawere kuchatanga kuidza kuti whe-e-e-e muZimbabwe vanhu vokatyamara kuti chii chaizwo changachakavabata. Tiri kutongwa nechidhoma !

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 9 May 2016

Not wanting to cause panic I really do believe that the average Zimbabwean now has much to worry about. Mugabe and his cronies are grabbing all the genuine $ notes and giving us these useless, valueless so called Bond Notes that won't buy anything or be recognized anywhere but inside this country. Problem is that the Government has run out of money and plans so they are now trying to fool all of us with this useless scheme. Wake up Zimbabwe.

Mbewa - 9 May 2016

Ko iwe Martz, AfDB yapinda papi apa? The loan is from Afreximbank, a different institution based in Cairo. Please give evidence to prove that Mugabe and his mates care for the people...just one!

Doug Mushawasha - 9 May 2016

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