Zimbabwe put $ 31 million ($ 1.9 million) in new notes on Tuesday to help ease the liquidity shortage in its crisis economy, the central bank said.
The shortages of cash are such in the country that the banks drastically limit cash withdrawals.
Despite Tuesday’s introduction of $ 2 and $ 5 bills, banks continued to limit weekly cash withdrawals to $ 300, and daily withdrawals to $ 100. A derisory sum when the fuel tank costs 600 Zimbabwean dollars.
Our problem is not money, our problem is the production (…) What will serve (these notes) if there is no production?
« There is no difference » with the release of these new notes, said Milton Mushangwe, a frustrated customer in a bank. « The amount of withdrawals remains the same, » he told AFP.
Over the next six months, the bank plans to make available a total of one billion Zimbabwean dollars (some $ 63 million).
Zimbabwe is gradually reintroducing the Zimbabwean dollar, which was abandoned in 2009 when the currency lost value due to dizzying inflation.
The country then adopted foreign currencies for its transactions, such as the US dollar and the South African rand. But the precious greenbacks had become increasingly rare, to the point of strangling the economy.
In 2016, the government introduced « bond notes », government bonds of the same value as greenbacks. But the operation had failed. The value of « hops notes » had collapsed, inflation had resumed and caused shortages of commodities such as oil, sugar and flour to return.
At the beginning of this year, in an attempt to dry up the black market, the authorities decided to let the « bond notes » float. But the operation has once again turned around, with the only effect of boosting inflation, which now exceeds 300%.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded Robert Mugabe at the end of 2017 for almost four decades, promised to revive the economy. To this day, without success.
« We should have solved the problem of inflation » before introducing these new notes, said Tuesday an analyst, Gift Mugano. « Nothing will be solved when it takes a wad of notes to do some shopping, » he told AFP.
« Our problem is not the currency, our problem is the production (…) What will serve (these notes) if there is no production? », He added.
The Zimbabwean economy is idling and the country has to import many necessities.