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Useless US$ Coins

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So, where are US$ coins actually accepted for retail in Zimbabwe? I find it interesting that having adopted a multi-currency system as a country – some retailers neither recognise nor accept US$ coins.  Picture this; you want to purchase a product that costs $3, 25. You hand over three US$1 notes to the teller and when you give them a quarter, they look at it, frown and say they don’t accept that but R2 (two Rand) would do instead. I mean what the bollocks?

Ever since I returned from the States, I have been carrying around a wallet full of what I realise now are essentially useless coins here. I just don’t get it. Yesterday evening while making a few purchases at the Bridge Spar, I tried my luck again with the coins. The till attendant looked at me squarely and said it was after 6pm therefore she could no longer accept US$ coins. I demanded an explanation as to what it being after 6pm had anything to do with what choice of coins was acceptable. The till attendant mumbled something along the lines of the shop being unable to give them to other customers as change or ‘cash’ them, whatever that means. I drew surprised stares when I thought aloud that that was one of the stupidest things I had heard all week.

It is bad enough we are not using our own currency, but to have selective use of the foreign currency that we do use is an unnecessary inconvenience. I think it is high time for whoever’s job it is to start working towards a more sustainable currency solution. I mean for how long can a country live under all sorts of speculation. The Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (STERP) stipulates that the temporary use of multiple currencies terminates in 2012. Then what next? In last week’s Standard, the IMF was quoted in an article as having cautioned the Zimbabwean government against re-introducing the Zim-dollar. They said the country should rather extend the life span of the multi-currency system and also continue using the US dollar till 2014. The IMF Article IV report on Zimbabwe stipulates that the inclusive government has failed to put in place adequate conditions for the re-introduction of the Zim-dollar.

Last year there were speculations that the government attempted to join the Rand Monetary Union (currently consisting of Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa). Big wonder what happened to that idea. The media reported that Cabinet for the most part feared rejection. Now I hear old Zimbabwean coins are being purchased for long cash and selling like hot cakes on the streets. I wonder if like in 2008 the RBZ governor might just once again resuscitate old currency. I sure am holding on to whatever original Zimbabwean notes and coins I still have, all together with my currently useless US$ coins.

2 comments to “Useless US$ Coins”

  1. Comment by Petros Rambwawasvika:

    In debt and not attracting investors does it works?

    ‘Harare is broke as revenues declined by almost 35%. RBZ clearly state that the country cannot meet its own financial needs as revenue collection fell from US$350 to US$150 million a month.’ (IMF)

    So to speak the government has no money set aside to pay off part of the country’s external debt, but guess what we claim to have bloody diamonds. Failing to attract foreign investors we are doomed to failure. In steady they are grabbing foreign companies in the name of empowerment. Modifications of economic policies radically, turn empowerment laws into constructive once is exceedingly needed at the minute.

    Autonomously, the government should aim to reduce investment costs in target economic sectors by addressing investment exertion and obstacles, which are the tacit costs shouldered by the private sector, by embryonic human resource and indispensable infrastructure to accommodate the expansion of those target sectors, and by creating a conducive environment for eminence investment. Efforts should also be made to magnetize pro-active investment by designating target industries and countries, as well as developing and fostering investment networks. All should be achieved by not promoting cartel.

    Hard work to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) must dovetail with the country’s unambiguous situations and needs at particular times. Attracting quality investment would not be successful if superficial investment promotion incentives are used, but only through compelling factors that lead the investors to believe that they will be rewarded with lasting benefits. One cannot get back on track by taking majority stake in share to local investors from foreign companies. This is madness and disastrous. Zimbabwe is overdue for fresh mind thinking. (Chimurenga chatiuraira nyika)

    The situation at the moment is shambolic. Even if you teach Chimpanzee to communicate and ask it what is indispensable in Zimbabwe it will ascertain what is misplaced and sort out the acrimonious straight away. For some reasons people things Zimbabwe necessitates back own currency, not possible for now. Natasha, you are forgetting Zim$ (poor management) failed the country to cross the suspension bridge of deprivation and US$ break the strong hold.
    The US$ actually acted and still acting as an imperative channel/ conduit to our destiny.

    Stopping US$ now it will be a biggest gaffe ever. Natasha, it will be diabolic to reinstate Zim for US$. For us to have food in shops and provisions, I believe it is due to US$. In my opinion it is of paramount importance for the two government to put their heads together to educate people the difference between US$ and Zim$. This can be achieved by better price on commodities and put benchmarks on salaries for Civil Servants, who are poorly paid and are suffering martyrdom. Ordinary Zimbabweans and business people will be so cantankerous on the philosophy of yours.

    Ostensibly, people are doing well with the US$. For few years to come, I would welcome your dogma of our own currency. We cannot pioneer our own currency due to one person having hard times with coins that’s your own baby. I would like to egg on you to pay heed to the business community and pin your ears back their views on the question of reintroduce Zim$. On the face of it, in point of fact you need to snoop and hope you will get the point. Me sorry, but that’s the truth of the matter.
    Response by

    Petros Rambwawsvika (Activist & Economist)

  2. Comment by Natasha:

    Very good and true insights and reflections there Petros. However I hasten to point out that nowhere is it suggested in the blog that the Zim $ be reinstated, as you put it. I simply pointed out the need for a more sustainable currency solution, and I dont think that translates into saying lets have Zim$ back. Nevertheless, I should one day like to use our own currency again. I think that is something a country can take pride in,

    thanks for your comments