New money for Zim stuck in Namibia

A supply of new banknotes and coins for Zimbabwe is stuck in Namibia, with the government still working out the logistics of transporting the multi-ton shipment.

Tendai Biti
Tendai Biti

Finance Minister Tendai Biti told Parliament on Wednesday that the shipment of cash, the product of a deal with unnamed US financial institutions, weighs “tons and tons.”

“The problem we are having now is of transport from Walvis Bay to Zimbabwe,” Biti said, without giving more detail.

The Minister was responding to a question by an MDC-T legislator for Magwegwe, Magalela Sibanda, on what the government was doing about retailers and banks that were refusing to accept soiled notes.

Most of the US dollar notes that have been in circulation since Zimbabwe abandoned the local dollar in 2009, have become unusable. Many retailers have stopped accepting them, while some banks were reportedly charging a fee to change the notes.

Economist John Robertson welcomed the announcement, saying that although details were not clear yet, it was likely to be something that involved a “straight swap” of cash.

“Zimbabwe doesn’t have the money to buy new notes, so I think this would most likely have been an agreement based on a swap of the old notes for the new ones. The expense would have been in the shipment, and the Bankers Association would have incurred this cost,” Robertson said.

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