Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday told the Senate that bond notes will only be introduced towards the end of September or beginning of October because that is when they will be ready.
They had been advised by the printers that it would take that long for the notes to be ready and apologised that the government had made the announcement about the introduction of the notes prematurely.
“My apology of cause is that I have admitted on other forums and I think it is a mistake. The mistake was that we made pronouncement on the issuance of bond notes prematurely. I would have much preferred, with the benefit of the hindsight that we had done so to almost about the time we were issuing,” he said.
The introduction of the notes has caused panic in the market leading to a stampede on the banks as some people are afraid that this is the reintroduction of Zimbabwe dollar through the back door.
Chinamasa, however, said the shortage of cash had also seen the use of plastic money increase by 400 percent in the past four to five weeks.
The bond notes will be trading at par with the United States dollar but cannot be used outside the country.
Asked how the government would ensure that the notes retain their value, Chinamasa responded: “I am sure the public and a lot of Hon. Senators here, have missed the major thrust of the measures that were announced.
“We do not print the United States dollar in this country. When it started appreciating, it created problems for us and it appreciated when the currency of our largest trading partner South Africa, had a precipitous fall. So we were caught between a rock and a hard place.
“In order to address that issue, we realised that our foreign currency market was over-liberalised. So the major thrust of the measures that we announced is to start a process of managing our foreign currency and prioritising its usage. Our foreign currency earnings come from primarily five commodities, tobacco, gold, platinum, ferrochrome and diamonds. In other words, what we earn is hard earned; that foreign currency is hard earned.
“However, as it was in an over-liberalised economy and market, we found that we were just being used as a fishing pond by other countries, unscrupulous traders and also that the currency was being used as a store value like I mentioned in answer to an earlier question. It was not being used as a medium of exchange. We use the United States dollar here to fund domestic transactions including kutenga mazhanje, ipwa, magaka, which no other country does.
“Other countries build volts to keep and store United States dollars as a reserve currency. In this country we were just open and therefore, open to any abuse. So, the measures we are taking are to correct that situation.”
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