New $10, $20 notes next week Specimens of the new banknotes

Tendai Mugabe

Senior Reporter

New $10 and $20 banknotes are being introduced with the red $10 note circulating from Tuesday next week and the blue $20 note from the first week of June, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has announced.

The RBZ has also increased the weekly cash withdrawal limit from $300 to $1 000 from  next Wednesday.

Both notes are the same size as the existing $2 and $5 notes, 156mm by 66mm, according to the statutory instrument authorising the issue.

Both notes retain on their front the RBZ logo of three balancing rocks common to all Zimbabwean banknotes, with the reverse of the $10 note showing the RBZ headquarters building and four buffalo and the reverse of the $20 note showing one elephant and the Victoria Falls.

In a statement yesterday announcing the issue of the notes and the new weekly withdrawal limits, RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya warned that banks have been directed to ensure that the withdrawal limits are strictly observed. “The (Reserve) Bank will not tolerate any abuse of currency and will decisively deal with any such abuse in terms of the law.”

Past issues of bond notes and banknotes have seen most of these flowing and being retained in the informal economy with illegal cash traders charging a high premium to convert mobile money into cash.

Informal traders also tend to charge less for cash, which they sell, than for debit-card or mobile money transfers. The black market has a lower premium for cash than for electronic money. More cash in circulation should reduce the cash premiums and bring down the exchange rate for electronic transfers.

Cash is preferred in many informal sectors since it is difficult for the tax authorities to trace and because it can be used for black market currency transactions without leaving a transaction record.

Banks normally charge fees for cash withdrawals from ATMs or over the counter and there is also the two percent transfer tax from the Government, so account holders might be paying combined fees and taxes in the region of five percent to withdraw money as cash.

Statutory Instrument 103A of 2020, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (Issue of Ten Dollar and Twenty Dollar Banknotes) Notice, 2020, was gazetted yesterday by Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube using his authority under the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act. This is the legally required notice to make the new notes valid as currency.

This statutory instrument also gives the design and security features.

The front of the $10 note, besides the balancing rocks logo, will have the visually impaired recognition feature to the left, a latent image showing the denomination, optical variable ink with colour shift from magenta to green, a security thread with the inscription RBZ, a watermark with highlighted inscription RBZ 10, and a see-through of the Zimbabwe Bird looking to the left in perfect register, along with features.

The $20 note has a similar front design except the optical variable ink shifts in colour from green to azure, and an RBZ 20 watermark.

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