HARARE – The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) yesterday 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.
RBZ governor John Mangudya told a news conference last night that anyone caught smuggling out amounts above the stipulated figures faced arrest.
The central bank chief also announced the introduction of so-called “bond notes” in the next three months backed by the Cairo-based African Export Import Bank, which he said will inject $200 million into Zimbabwe’s economy.
“The bond coins and notes shall continue to operate alongside the currencies within the multi-currency system and at par with the United States dollar,” he said.
“The Zimbabwean bond notes of denominations of $2, $5, $10 and $20 shall therefore be introduced in future, as an extension of the currency family bond coins for ease of portability in view of the size of the $200 million backed facility.”
He declined that this was akin to a backdoor re-introduction of the Zimdollar.
The measures were aimed at easing ease acute shortages of currency that have caused dollar supplies to vanish, triggering long queues at banks.
Mangudya said government was also moving to configure the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system into a multi-currency platform to add the rand, euro and bond currency. The new RTGS system is expected to go live on June 13, 2016.
He said government had reached the conclusion that the multi-currency system was not functional at the moment on the back of the cash hiccups the country has been experiencing.
Mangudya said government was “urging” all retailers, schools, government departments and all other traders and vendors who dealt in cash to display international exchange rates as well as use Point of Sale (POS) machines.
“Lack of POS machines has increased the demand for cash, so we are urging any organisation that deals in cash to have POS services,” he said.
“Penalties for lack of POS machines will definitely come but we always believe in moral satin, if it fails we use Money Laundering Act, fines specified in the Act.”