Chinamasa's golden chance to bury Zim dollar

Chinamasa's golden chance to bury Zim dollar
Published: 17 December 2013
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa presents the 2014 national budget this Thursday and it will be a golden opportunity to bury for good, fears and speculation that the Zimbabwe dollar might find its way back into circulation next year.

But then again, no one, besides the purse holder himself and other top Government officials know what really the future holds, concerning the matter, the New Ziana reported.

Granted, President Mugabe, Chinamasa and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe officials have more than once said the local currency would not be re-introduced anytime soon.

"In order to dispel any doubts, I came back home to maintain the multi-currency regime. It will be with us, it will remain with us for an indefinite period," Chinamasa said following his elevation to head Treasury. But these assurances seem not to have managed to calm the fears. Deep down, people continue to cross their fingers, saying silent prayers that the local unit does not resurrect soon. The continued liquidity crisis has not made the situation any easier for the public and the worries about possible return of Zimbabwe dollar, retired at the height of hyperinflation in early 2009, are very real in the minds of a large section of the public.

Commotion at some banks, made worse by the high demand for cash during the festive season have added to the worries that the government, which appears not to have control over the situation, must possibly call for the return of the local unit to ease the situation.

To stoke the situation, people of influence, such as former Finance Minister Tendai Biti are playing on people's fears, making declarations that the government will definitely bring back the Zimbabwe dollar.

"The sad truth of the matter is that the Zimbabwean dollar will be back. It is not a matter of if, but when," Biti said in a recent post on Facebook.

To supplement Biti's claim, former Education Minister David Coltart last week said the Government had given Dunlop a contract to rehabilitate the machine used for printing money at Fidelity Printers.

Just the mere mention of the Zimbabwe dollar brings sad memories to the majority. It is a reminder of a time in history when the nation was at its worst economically such that people were forced to reject their own currency in favour of a basket of foreign currencies.

The possibility of its immediate return only fuels an already chronic situation. Chances of economic recovery appear very slim in the eyes of the ordinary man and woman in the streets. What the majority will not want to hear are suggestions that the Zimbabwean dollar will make an unwelcome return.

It is not that people hate the Zimbabwe dollar, it is not a question of sovereignty but simply that it be re-introduced at a suitable time when the economy is stable and growing to be in a position to sustain it. The fears drive speculation to its peak, disadvantaging the majority and eroding the little confidence people have that the situation will improve. The issue of currency is not necessarily the main challenge the economy is facing. It is but a symptom of all else not being well in the economy. Chinamasa has to work his magic to prescribe remedies to save collapsing companies, restore productivity, improve trade and investment levels, create jobs, hike civil servants salaries by more than 100 percent to reach the PovertyDatum Line and oil the economy's wheels to make life better for everyone.

But above all, it is fears of returning the Zimbabwe dollar that he has to dig deep and bury, never to rise again, if there is to be any hope for recovery. If not, then Chinamasa has to wear a straight face and say out rightly that the Zimbabwe dollar is certainly coming back. It is therefore D Day on Thursday when this burning question will be answered.

- New Ziana


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