Finance minister Mthuli Ncube says the government is committed to preserving the value of electronic balances at the current rate of exchange of 1 to 1, in order “to protect people’s savings.”
“Government recognise concerns surrounding RTGS deposits, and we commit to preserve the value of these balances on the current rate of exchange of 1 to 1, in order to protect people’s savings,” Ncube said in a statement on Wednesday after some business started demanding payment in US dollars only while some retailers have suspended sales as the value of the electronic dollars and the surrogate bond note currency have plunged on the black market.
Zimbabwe abandoned its hyperinflation ravaged currency in 2009 and adopted a basket of multi-currencies anchored on the US dollar, but gripped by acute shortages of cash dollars since 2016.
Last week, the central bank brought back foreign currency accounts (FCAs) to separate local electronic transfers and foreign inflows and US dollars, leading to a panic in the market.
Ncube said there was a “need for an orderly currency reform programme that will be followed when the economic fundamentals” and that the multi-currency system will continue.
“This system entails that foreign exchange earners are not prejudiced of their regulatory foreign exchange receipts and that those who do not earn foreign exchange have access to foreign exchange through the banking system as is per the current policy of foreign exchange management system. In parallel, the Reserve Bank shall continue to maintain adequate resources for the import of essential commodities,” he said.
He said apart from the $500 million Nostro Deposit Protection Guarantee from Afreximbank, he was also “reinforcing Nostro foreign currency accounts with a statutory instrument to guarantee that these are private deposits, and neither the Reserve Bank nor government has any access to them.”