Commuter Omnibus operators, retailers ‘phases out’ ZWL$0.50

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Zimbabwe’s skewed arrangement is such that cash is the preferred method of transacting in an economy where the majority of citizens earn a living from trading in the informal sector.

THE introduction of the new currency has triggered resentment of the ZWL$0,50 by retailers, Zim Morning Post has learnt.

Zimbabweans now have to fork out a minimum ZWL$1 denomination in order to make purchases.

In a snap survey carried out by Zim Morning Post on Tuesday, the publication established that retailers, vendors and commuter omnibus operators were not accepting 50-cent bond coins.

“We cannot buy anything using these coins anymore,” said some of the people Zim Morning Post interviewed in Domboshava.

The 50-cent bond coin is now being rejected by the transacting public, and if no intervention is made at government level, lower denominations would soon fall out of favour and become another addition to the list of coins that used to buy.

Who is pulling strings?

Commuter Omnibus  operators, who are generally the chief culprits, have openly conceded culpability, claiming there was a bigger force behind.

Greater Harare Association of Commuter Operators spokesperson (Ghako) Ngoni Katsvairo said the value chain beyond them was rejecting the so-called small coins.

“Although a lot of people are putting the blame on us, we are not the source of the confusion. Service stations are refusing small coins.

“The same is being said by those we buy our spares from,” Katsvairo said.

Ghaco spokesperson also said service stations were now in the habit of accepting a maximum of ZWL100 in coins — currently only able to get one five litres of fuel.

The whole downtown ecosystem now appears averse to small-value coins.

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“We used to use those coins to pay our workers, but lately, they too have been refusing them, saying they are not being accepted in most places,” Katsvairo said.

People are now worried over what they would do with lower value coins in case they remained trapped in  their purses.

Do they throw them away?

Only in supermarkets like PicknPay, OK Zimbabwe or Food World are the coins accepted.

Zimbabwe’s skewed arrangement is such that cash is the preferred method of transacting in an economy where the majority of citizens earn a living from trading in the informal sector.

Sten Zvorwadza, National Vendors’ Union Zimbabwe chairperson said it was now common for Zimbabweans to apply speculative assumptions on the use of small denominated coins.

“This has happened numerous times in the past and the government has failed to give proper direction,” Zvorwadza said.

“It is the duty of government to explain to the nation that such behaviour is unscrupulous and unacceptable.

“The committee felt that there was need to boost the domestic availability of cash for transactional purposes through a gradual increase in cash supply over the next six months,” RBZ governor John Magudya said after the central bank’s monetary policy committee met on October 28 and 29 at the bank.

“The committee also noted the need to review upwards the cash withdrawal limits to ease the burden on the transacting public. The additional cash injection will be carried out through the non-inflationary exchange of RTGS money for physical cash.”

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