US$ not our currency; we have no control — Minister tells MPs after being challenged on tattered bank notes

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By Anna Chibamu

ZIMBABWEANS were forced to buy new United States dollar notes on the streets and other private money agencies as old worn-out notes were being rejected by users on the market, it has emerged.

Government revealed Wednesday during the Parliament question and answer session that it had no clue on how to resolve the matter of soiled USD notes that were either worn out or tattered.

Leader of government business in Parliament and Justice Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, said government did not have any powers over the USD currency, which belongs to the American government.

The currency came into use in 2009 during the GNU and the new dispensation in 2018 adopted it as the local dollar had been shunned over its depreciation in value due to inflation.

However, as the currency is wholly owned by the US government, Zimbabwe has no authority to issue new US dollar notes.

Zanu PF Mt Darwin South MP, Steven Kabozo requested to know government policy regards the worn out US dollar notes which were in circulation.

“I have noted with concern that even at our toll gates they are no longer accepting even slightly torn notes which is worrisome, taking into consideration that we do not print US dollar notes here in Zimbabwe. What is the government policy measure in place to get rid of this activity?”


In response, Ziyambi, without elaborating what was said in the statement, told the House that “the owners of the notes (US government), through their embassy issued a statement that was made public on the usage of those notes.

“I think, as government, we cannot issue a contrary statement to what they said.”

However, Kabozo reminded Ziyambi that there were agencies across the country who were now buying the tattered and torn USD notes at a rate half of the amount of the note on offer, which he described as daylight robbery.

“What is the government doing to get rid of this discord in the market? I rest my case.”

The minister said, “This is not our currency. It is a US American government currency. We do not have any control whatsoever over it and we do not even control what happens beyond our borders. So I am not the right person to issue a policy over a currency that does not belong to the Zimbabwean government.”

The issue of currency use and choice has been topical in Zimbabwe due to issues of inflation and disparities in exchange rate.

However, the government has allowed the use of both local (ZWL) and foreign currencies on the market.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (ZINARA), a government entity, has reportedly been refusing local currency.

A ZINARA official, who refused to be identified, said workers manning toll gates had been instructed not to accept the Zimbabwean dollar.