Zimbabwean retail shops demand hard cash as banks convert to new currency

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 6, 2024
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HARARE, April 6 (Xinhua) -- Major retail shops were on Saturday trading largely in United States dollars after financial institutions suspended the use of the outgoing Zimbabwean dollar (ZWL) while adjusting to the new Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) currency which was introduced Friday.

Workers at one of the shops at Westgate Shopping Mall, northwest of the city center, told Xinhua that they were accepting cash (U.S. dollars and ZWL), but not many people have been accessing the local currency for several months now.

"We had to come to the shop very early in the morning to see how we would be trading following the introduction of ZiG. We decided that since our machines were no longer processing Zimbabwean dollar transactions, we should stick to only cash," said an employee at one of the shops.

Till points were less crowded than usual as customers failed to use their debit cards and mobile money transfer platforms.

Financial institutions were also notifying customers that they had suspended some of their services while they were going through the currency conversion period.

The country's biggest mobile network operator, Econet, also announced Saturday that it had suspended trading in local currency.

"Please note that we have suspended trading in ZWL, effective 5 April, as we prepare for currency changeover on our system," the operator told its customers.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on Friday introduced a structured currency (ZiG) which will be backed by a basket of foreign exchange reserves and precious minerals, mainly gold, amid hopes that it will foster currency stability and contain rising inflation.

The ZiG notes are in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 200. In addition, there will be half and quarter ZiG coins.

Mushayavanhu said with effect from Monday next week, all Zimbabwean dollar bank balances will be converted to ZiG accounts using the exchange rate of 1 U.S. dollar to 13.56 Zimbabwean dollars. Enditem

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