Bianca Mlilo Bulawayo Bureau—
UNSCRUPULOUS characters have started printing fake bond notes which they plan to coincidentally release when the real bond notes are injected into the economy, a Cabinet Minister said yesterday.
The new notes are expected to be in circulation in a few weeks’ time with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) rolling out massive awareness campaigns ahead of their usage.
Addressing legislators at the at the 2017 pre-Budget seminar in Bulawayo, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Patrick Chinamasa, said the ongoing nationwide public awareness campaigns were meant to empower the transacting public and warn them against conmen.
“You may not be aware of this but fake bond notes have been printed to coincide with our release in order to confuse the situation,” said Minister Chinamasa. “You may also need to know that some people have been going to the people where we put orders for printing and threatening litigation and bad publicity.
“Because we have reputational issues, every threat is considered valid, which is why we are no longer giving a running commentary on what we are doing.” The minister would not elaborate on who are the culprits and how they accessed key features of the proposed notes before their release.
The initial deadline for the release of bond notes was end of October. However, the RBZ withheld their injection in order to extend campaigns and educate the public on the denominations and operations of the bond notes.
The new notes will come in denominations of $2 and $5 with an initial tranche of $75 million worth of notes set to be in circulation by end of next month. When the central bank is satisfied with the level of conversancy the public has with bond notes, they will be introduced.
Minister Chinamasa said in view of these considerations, the Government was vigilant and taking precautions in implementing steps to revitalise the economy so as to avert disruptions. He said Reserve Bank Governor Dr John Mangudya would be available tomorrow to answer detailed questions that legislators and other stakeholders would have on bond notes.
The RBZ in May announced plans to introduce bond notes as a production performance related export incentive or bonus scheme to be awarded to exporters of goods and services. Under this scheme the central bank would pay up to 5 percent incentive or bonus in bond notes to exporters.
The measure is also meant to buttress the use of the multiple currency system and help ease liquidity challenges. Backed by a $200 million loan facility from Afreximbank, the bond notes will be equivalent to the US dollar in terms of value and should be accepted as legal tender. The Government has already promulgated Statutory Instrument 133 of 2016, which has since been gazetted, as a legal backing to the use of the new notes.