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Zimbabwe cries for rands





With the current acute cash crisis worsening by the day, experts have made renewed calls for the country to adopt the South African rand as Zimbabwe's anchor currency, to stem an impending economic implosion.

This comes as Parliament has summoned under pressure RBZ governor John Mangudya and TIMB chief executive Andrew Matibiri to explain the payment chaos that is being experienced by farmers at the Harare auction floors.

The Zimbabwean central bank reportedly urged the public to replace the US dollar with the rand as the country's main currency.

Reserve bank of Zimbabwe deputy governor Kapukile Mlambo said that they were going to be content if the public used the South African rand more than the US dollar.

Mlambo's remarks came as cash shortages in the southern African country continued to bite.

Zimbabwe introduced its own surrogacy currency dubbed the "bond notes" last year, but the move has failed to address the cash problem.

"We will be happy in the central bank if people use the rand more than they would use the other currencies... We can benchmark pricing with the rand, which we can't do with the [US] dollar because we trade almost nothing with the US," Mlambo was quoted as saying.

Zimbabwean firms last year urged the government to adopt the South African rand as its "reference currency" instead of the US dollar.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries reportedly argued at the time that while the country's unique "multi-currency system" should be maintained, all financial reporting must be done in rand.

CZI said it is going to push President Robert Mugabe's government to adopt the South African rand, even if there's no formal agreement with Pretoria.

The group said that the rand was becoming more attractive, as the southern African country continued to face an "acute liquidity crisis of cash dollars".

Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency in 2009 and now uses mainly the US dollar and the South African rand, although other currencies are also legal tender.

Shortages of the US dollar in the economy are causing hardships for many businesses and ordinary Zimbabweans.

President Mugabe's government has so far refused to adopt the rand; it says Zimbabwe can't join the rand monetary union because it doesn't have its own currency.

Bond notes were introduced at the end of November but they're still not officially a currency and they can't be exchanged outside the country.

So Zimbabwean industrialists are pushing for a non-formalised adoption of the rand.

After all, using the rand rather than the US could, if prices are adjusted, make Zimbabwe's companies more competitive and reduce the high cost of doing business.

State media today quotes CZI's President Busisa Moyo as saying legal documents will be drafted to support the use of the rand, though of course there's no guarantee the authorities will agree.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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