Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent—
The introduction of bond notes backed by a $200 million loan from Afreximbank will plug leakages and externalisation of foreign currency, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa told Senators yesterday. He said bond notes to be used locally only would stimulate the circulation of money. Minister Chinamasa said among other benefits, the bond notes would also reduce the import bill as measures were being put in place to introduce a priority list of what commodities to be imported.
Minister Chinamasa said there had been a 400 percent increase in the use of plastic money in the past weeks, a situation he said was encouraging.
“The reality is that the bond notes are interchangeable with the US dollar. We want to fight leakages. Bond notes will not be used outside the country. Whereas if we put $200 million dollars today on the market, tomorrow it will have disappeared. We are just like a sieve when it comes to our foreign currency,” he said.
“We are saying bond notes circulation will only be limited to the territory of Zimbabwe. Given the fact that we are a porous market, we are over liberalised. If we brought in $2 billion today, tomorrow it will disappear. We are hoping the leakages of the US dollar will come to an end.”
Minister Chinamasa said this while responding to questions in the Senate by Harare Metropolitan Senator Theresa Makone, who questioned how transparent the process that only $200 million bond notes were to be printed externally. He said it was impossible to predict when the cash crisis would end.
Minister Chinamasa said Government was clear that employers should be allowed to withdraw money sufficient to pay wages. Responding to a question from Midlands Senator Mr Morgen Komichi (MDC-T) on how much money a person was allowed to carry when buying goods in other countries, Minister Chinamasa said it was the duty of the central bank to release such information.
On PSMAS saga, Minister Chinamasa said Government would leave no stone unturned until the entity returned to normalcy. “We want to make sure we put systems that are transparent that make management accountable to prevent corruption. Corruption is a very complex crime, it is not like murder or theft. It is different in that the briber and the person bribed are most unlikely to report each other to the authorities,” he said.
“PSMAS fall under the Ministry of Health and Child Care but what l can assure this august House is that we will leave no stone unturned to bring PSMAS back to life because we consider the welfare of civil servants paramount,” he said.
Minister Chinamasa was responding to a question from Masvingo Senator Cde Misheck Marava on corruption levels in the country and measures Government was putting in place to recoup funds syphoned from the medical aid company.