Since the ZiG’s launch, the central bank has reset its benchmark interest rate to 20 percent from 130 percent — at one stage the highest rate in the world — and publishes the ZiG/dollar exchange rate daily on its website.
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Business, consumers push for early introduction of ZiG notes, coins

STAKEHOLDERS yesterday appealed to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to move forward the release of notes and coins of the new currency, the Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG), for the convenience of trading.

Early this month, the country introduced a structured currency, the ZiG, which will be backed by a basket of foreign currencies, gold and other precious metals.

The new currency was launched on April 8 at an introductory rate of 13.56 per United States dollar, with the notes and coins expected to go into circulation on April 30th. The notes would be in denominations of 1ZiG, 2ZiG, 5ZiG, 10ZiG, 20ZiG, 50ZiG, 100ZiG, and 200ZiG.

While consumers can now purchase goods in ZiG electronically in most major retail outlets after they successfully configured their systems, they are not getting change or cash back because the notes and coins are yet to be released.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu said most businesses are now accepting the electronic ZiG currency and trading has been smooth. He, however, urged the central bank to quickly introduce the ZiG notes and coins for the convenience of the public, who are currently being affected by the absence of change.

“We are just worried about the time frame between the introduction and circulation of the ZiG because consumers are walking into the store and still want their change but we cannot give them notes and coins. Most of us have been issuing vouchers in place of change,” he said.

Mutashu was presenting oral evidence before the joint Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion, and Industry and Commerce. Consumer Council of Zimbabwe chief executive Rosemary Mpofu added her voice to the need to speed up the release of ZiG notes and coins to save consumers from unfair pricing.

“Consumers are being given drinks and other items as change which means they are paying more. As CCZ we call upon RBZ to hasten the release of new notes and coins,” she said. Mpofu urged government departments to accept the ZiG by charging for services in local currency. “It will send a clear signal that indeed the ZiG is real and helps speed up its acceptance,” she said. – New Ziana

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