By Leopold Munhende, Chief Reporter
FORMER finance minister Tendai Biti says government must shut down the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) arguing it has become a rogue and unnecessary institution.
Speaking at a Zimbabwe Debt Indaba hosted by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) in Harare, Biti said Zimbabwe has no need for an institution like the RBZ. He said government should replace it with a currency board.
He blamed RBZ governor John Mangudya for the country’s spiraling debt which he claimed was ballooning as a result of government’s purchases of weapons from “questionable states” for use against the country’s citizens.
“The elephant in the room is the RBZ and under John Panonetsa Mangudya, it has become rogue institution. In my respectful opinion the country does not actually need a reserve bank. Let us have a currency board,” Biti said.
“All the RBZ does is dabble in quasi-fiscal activities which cost you and I. last years we have had two debt assumptions. The country’s domestic debt has grown from US$1,5 billion in 2015 to US$3,5 billion in December of 2021. That is not good enough, that is a rogue central bank,” he said.
“If they are incapable of repenting then we must do something. If they are incapable of Damascus moments then we must do something. And doing something is drastic. The country does not need a central bank; it needs a currency board.”
Biti has never hidden his disdain for Mangudya, and Finance minister Mthuli Ncube who he blames regularly for mismanaging the economy.
He has on countless occasions called for the re-introduction of the US dollar, which he says stabilised the economy during the era of the Government of National Unity.
In a recent interview with NewZimbabwe.com’s New Zim TV, Biti said Zimbabwe’s situation could only be saved by re-introduction of the US dollar with the Zimbabwe dollar being maintained for change purposes.
Biti said this move will reduce the RBZ’s continued influence in quasi-fiscal activities and reduce chances of the governor printing money as was the case under former governor Gideon Gono.