Gono goes- says he was only responsible for 45 percent of RBZ debt

Gideon Gono, central bank governor during Zimbabwe’s most tumultuous period, bade farewell to his colleagues in the banking sector yesterday, but with a clear parting shot. He was not entirely responsible for the $1.3 billion debt that the central bank had.

In a statement yesterday, Gono said he was not trying to apportion blame but he wanted to set the record straight. He was only responsible for 45 percent of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe debt. The other 55 percent had been rolled over and dated back to pre-independence days.

The government took over the central bank debt on Tuesday.

Gono said this has given the bank a clean slate and hoped that God would guide the nation, “always putting the sector and our economy first above and guarding against any irrational but populist policies that could reverse all the gains and stability achieved so far on the altar of temporary gratification”.

Gono’s term officially ended today after 120 months in office.


Below is his full farewell statement:



1.Today marks my 10th Year Anniversary since becoming Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on 1 December, 2003. Though it seems like only yesterday when I arrived at Samora Machel Avenue to occupy the 22nd and 23rd Floors of No. 80 Samora Machel Avenue, the fact of the matter is that I leave these premises today after 120 months of continuo us occupation and it is a long time indeed. Even the Law recognizes that this is a lengthy period and says one must leave to give way to a new occupant!

2. The purpose of this Memo is not to give an evaluation of my tenure as Governor, no; that is for you individually and collectively as well as for my principals and all other stakeholders to assess and pass judgement.

3. The motivation behind this Memo is to express gratitude to you all as individual players in the financial field and as a sectoral collectivity in our economy. Without your unfailing cooperation, support and total loyalty to the country, the moderate stability we currently enjoy in the financial sector could not have been achieved let alone sustained and we all know that no economy can stabilize let alone prosper without a functioning and efficient financial sector and its many facets. You are the men and women responsible for that stability and I salute your ingenuity and resilience.

4. While I acknowledge that we were not always perfect as a sector or always effective as your Regulator to the levels we would have wanted, I know that nobody expected either of us to be direct descendants of Saints Peter, Paul or Mark! We worked well and achieved the best results we could under challenging circumstances and it is this attribute which gives me tremendous comfort that the sector will not be found wanting, whatever the circumstances or challenges that may lie ahead.

5. The law requires that as Governor, I appoint an Acting Governor among my two deputies to perform the Governor’s duties in an Acting capacity and to leave in place a mechanism for rotating that position amongst the two deputies until such time that “white smoke”(in Catholic terms) emerges fro m the tall towers of our Central Bank in the form of a substantive appointment.

6. To this end, I have appointed Dr Charity Dhliwayo to be the first of the two to Act as Governor for the period 1 December 2013 to 28 February 2014 and Dr K. Mlambo to also Act for three months after, before reverting back to Dr Dhliwayo if no decision is made before then.

7. I leave my office a happy man given that only on Tuesday, Cabinet agreed, finally to the Government take-over of all Bank debts incurred by the Central Bank on behalf of the State. Some of these debts were incurred as way back as during our pre-independence era right through the 1980s, 1990s and the 2000s. An erroneous impression had been created in the market to the effect that the entire US$1.3 billion was created during my era of administration. Of course nothing could be further from the truth.

8.For the record, only 45% of that debt was created by survival circumstances of my era while 55% was rolled over years such as the IMF,World Bank, ADB loans of the early 80s/90s, Malaysia and South African Central Bank debts among others.

9. The point here is not to point fingers at any one era of administration but to record appreciation to Government for finally summoning the courage to clean-up the RBZ Balance Sheet and in the process, recapitalize it. A lot of negotiations and verification by the likes of IMF, external auditors and others went into this process and I wish to record my appreciation to our Cabinet especially His Excellency the President, Cde R.G. Mugabe, the Minister of Finance, Hon P. Chinamasa and his predecessor, Hon T. Biti, for their full understanding and genuine appreciation of the subject matter. “Extra-ordinary circumstances demanded extra- ordinary interventions” so to speak.

10. With the take-over of RBZ debt will follow the Bank’s recapitalization and provision of funds for Lender of Last Resort. I am leaving the Bank after successfully laying the foundation for all the above to take place for the good of our sector and the economy in general.

11. In conclusion, I wish you all the best and ask God to guide us all in whatever we are going to do, always putting the sector and our economy first above and guarding against any irrational but populist policies that could reverse all the gains and stability achieved so far on the alter of temporary gratification.

12. On a lighter note, since I am joining the “jobless,” please do not leave me standing in the rain by the road side while driving past me in your “nice cars.” I will miss barking orders to you all! As a client of some of you guys, it is now time to bark orders at me and I will jump!

13. For the religious amongst you, I leave you to hold on to Romans 8 vs 28-34.

I thank you all.

Yours sincerely
c.c. Hon Minister of Finance, Cde P. Chinamasa
c.c. RBZ Board



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