HARARE – President Robert Mugabe has vowed to revive the Zimbabwe dollar and urged local to keep the shelved notes for possible compensation if wins re-election.
In an address to tens of thousands of people in Gweru on Friday, said the Zimbabwean Zim dollar, once on par with the British pound and reduced to almost nothing, was due to bounce back if the 89-year-old Zanu PF leader secures a fresh mandate.
In 2009, in response to unprecedented hyperinflation, Zimbabwe shelved the local unit and legalised the use of foreign currencies including the Botswana pula, the South African rand, the United States dollar, the Euro and the British pound.
The highest note previously in circulation, a 10 trillion Zimbabwe dollar note, was not even enough to buy a loaf of bread.
Mugabe said Reserve bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono had conferred with him that many were still holding on to the Zimdollar notes.
“VaGono vakauya vachindipa zevezeve rekuti vanhu nemadollar aye aingovakwirira achive billions, billions dollars, millions, millions, vamwe vakazoaruza vachiti vamwe vachinawo (Dr Gono told me that many people have kept the Zimbabwean currency in their homes). We will look into the issue and if you still have them don’t destroy them,” Mugabe said.
“Chikwereti chatinacho kwamuri (We owe you compensation). We will work out on how best to compensate you.
“It might not be much but we will see how much you will be given to compensate you. We will be looking at this matter as government together with you.
“This is among many of the things that we want to do to improve things in our country, to have quality leadership and progress as a nation. This is to make sure that our party and the Government led by our party are following the people’s wishes.”
The central bank governor has clarified that the re-introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar will not be done immediately but in the medium to long term.
Gono, a close ally of Mugabe, said indeed discussions around this have been made with the veteran Zimbabwean leader, but said the re-introduction of a local currency whose name may or may not be the “Zimbabwe dollar” would be done much later.
Zimbabwe will not reinstate the local currency while it tries to repair an economy which critics say was destroyed by Mugabe.
“As monetary authorities, we advise that as per the announcement by His Excellency President R.G. Mugabe, the re-introduction of a local currency is rather a medium to long term aspiration than an immediate, near-term agenda item on our radar as the Central Bank,” Gono said.
“Essentially, it is every country’s desire to have its own currency in order to avail potent policy options to policy makers, and Zimbabwe is no exception in this case.”
Gono outlined five key conditions, including attainment of sustained macroeconomic stability and re-orienting the economy on a firm recovery trajectory, before the local currency bounces back.