PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, supported by central bank chief, Gideon Gono have initiated moves to bring back the Zimbabwe dollar which was ditched in 2009 after being rendered worthless by hyperinflation.
Among the resolutions to come out of the Zanu PF national conference held in Bulawayo was a demand for the introduction of a domestic currency to operate alongside the current foreign currencies.
The party said the coalition government would be instructed to “work out modalities for the reintroduction of domestic currency alongside the multi-currency system in order to address the current liquidity crisis and to enable our people to carry out their transactions".
And Gono, whose polices critics blame for stocking inflation, said Zanu PF’s demand was feasible.
"The form and manner as well as the resumption of the proposed new Zimbabwe dollar or whatever it will be called will obviously take into account our national reserves in terms of strategic and precious metals such as gold reserves for back up," Gono told the state-run Herald newspaper.
He said the country needs to review its use of the United States dollar in view of the current debt crisis in the US and the Euro Zone.
"We must guard against putting all our eggs in one basket," he said.
“(Zimbabwe) cannot remain blind to the fact that when the US and the Eurozone catch a cold as is currently the case, those that depend on these currencies for their national accounting will also get a cold."
However, bankers and economic analysts have urged caution, warning the country’s economy was not ready for the return of the Zim dollar.
"We are not yet there. The only possible time we can have the local currency is when we have adequate import cover,” Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president, John Mushayavanhu said.
“We should work to generate adequate exports because figures presented by the Minister of Finance recently showed that we are importing more than what we are exporting, so we cannot have our own currency now."
Economist, Takunda Mugaga added: "If we reintroduce the Zimdollar at the moment, it is bound to be unpopular not because people do not like their local currency, but it will be competing against strong currencies such as the US dollar.
"The US dollar is a strong currency and this is why is it demanded worldwide. Our capacity utilisation as a country currently stands at 57 percent and it is still not practical to introduce the Zimdollar."
During his 2011 national budget announcement, Finance Minister Tendai Biti ruled out a return of the Zimbabwe dollar insisting the current multiple currency regime would remain in place until 2013, at the earliest.
But Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo said the party would reintroduce the Zim dollar after elections expected next year.
"Reintroduction of the Zim-dollar is not possible under the inclusive Government. It is only possible after we have elections when we will have control of the finance portfolio," Gumbo said.
"Once we are in control, we will then go to Parliament and make sure that it is ratified. At the moment we can make a proposal, but (Minister) Biti does whatever he wants and this is why we are saying we should have elections."