Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has rubbished claims by former Finance Minister Tendai Biti that Government will this week introduce a new currency. Mr Biti preached yesterday that the powers that be would, without due diligence, will introduce a local currency that he said would be weak.
Prof Ncube has previously given a timeline of 12 months within which to reintroduce the local currency, provided certain fundamentals are in place. He said he may scrap the quasi currency bond note and liberalise exchange controls as part of reforms he plans to implement by end of 2018.
Bond notes where introduced in 2016 in favour of the U.S. dollar in 2009 following years of hyperinflation, and the aim was to ease acute shortages of cash. The shortages have, however worsened while a black market continues to flourish. Current black markets rates are 1:4.
“He is a member of the opposition so that is always welcome. It keeps us on our toes, but we have policies, we will do it when we are ready. But we have a game plan, a roadmap and we will do it when the conditions are right.” Professor Mthuli Ncube said.
“I cannot give a timeline, I have always consistently said in 12 months’ time we should have done a lot in reforming our currency and monetary system and I still maintain that,” he said.
Prof Ncube was on record saying Government was working on introducing a currency that would be stable and less volatile.
However, Biti repeated his sensational claims on Monday evening, challenging the government’s position. He insisted that the new currency has already been printed. Wrote Biti:
A dwindling supply of cash dollars has led to banks limiting daily withdrawals. Companies are struggling to pay for imports and foreign investors cannot repatriate dividends or profits.