Zimbabwe Central Bank dithers on new $20 notes

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The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is yet to release the new $20 notes that were due first week of June as market actors grow anxious over the delay.

Last month authorities issued new $ 10 notes into circulation with the $ 20 notes expected to have hit the market last week as per initial pronouncements by the Central Bank.

“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe wishes to advise the public that the $10 and $20 bank notes issued on May 14 2020 through Statutory Instrument 103A of 2020, will come into circulation as follows, the $10-dollar bank note will commence circulating on Tuesday 19 May, 2020 and the $20 bank note will be in circulation by the first week of June 2020,” RBZ Governor, John Mangudya said in a statement then.

However, the Bank has remained tight-lipped on its earlier pronouncements which should have been executed last week sparking anxiety in the market.

Efforts by 263Chat to contact the Governor for comment were unsuccessful as his connection went unanswered.

According to the RBZ, the new notes were meant to improve cash availability on the market which remains relatively lower at around 5 percent threshold of broad money against international best practice of 10-15 percent.

But most traders have already hiked prices of goods and commodities this past week in anticipation of an increase in money supply, a move market players have castigated.

They say the $20 note is already losing its value before it even starts circulating.

“We are seeing the $10 that was recently introduced already been eroded by inflation, so this is a short-term intervention,” Bulawayo Vendor Association, executive director, Mike Ndiweni told 263Chat Business.

Nevertheless, there has been growing concern over the distribution of money into the economy which has seen the bulk of the new $ 10 notes in the hands of illicit money traders at a time the majority of the people cannot access it.

The local currency has been in short supply since its inception last year leading to parallel market traders setting high premiums on cash.