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Mthuli Ncube rapped over policy announcements

PARLIAMENT on Wednesday rapped Finance minister Mthuli Ncube for rushing to make policy announcements pertaining to his ministry on international fora and the media before addressing local legislators.

This was after Ncube recently told the international media at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that government would soon inject higher denominations of bond notes into the market to resolve the cash crisis.

Harare North MP Norman Allan Markham (MDC Alliance) told Ncube during Parliament's question-and-answer session that it would be beneficial if the Finance minister informed MPs first about any new policies.

"Would it not be beneficial for this House if the minister informed us of these policies before he informs the international community and the media?  He mentioned that the bond notes denominations will be increased from $10 to $50. The minister should give us the government policy on that," Markham said.

Ncube said the Davos Forum was not meant for policy announcements, but for re-engagement.

He denied having mentioned anything to do with $50 bond notes.

"On the specific question about the bond notes, I do not know where that came from. There is a very clear monetary policy statement which I was actually repeating that at the moment, our highest note is $5 and we will proceed to issue higher denomination notes $10, $20 and maybe eventually $50. It is very clear and that is what I said," Ncube said.

"But what actually happened was someone - I will not accuse anyone - decided to spin it and then focus on the $50. What happened to the $10 and $20, I do not know. I have never announced any policy around that issue."

Last December in the Senate, Ncube hinted that he would introduce $10 and $20 bond notes in the near future.

He said the money would be released in dribs and drabs so that it does not increase money supply and fuel inflation.

"So, we are using a strategy called a swap, where we are swapping the RTGS [real time gross settlement] balances for cash with the bank," he said then.

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