Zimbabwe unveils new currency notes but ATM withdrawals limited to Ksh.2000 per week


Zimbabwe unveils new currency notes but ATM withdrawals limited to Ksh.2000 per week
A man poses with Zimbabwe's new two dollar banknotes as customers queue outside a bank in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 12, 2019. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe finally has access to the new 2 and 5 dollar notes and coins.

The new currency was expected to start circulating on Monday but failed to appear on time until the next day.

According to Reuters, the authorities hope this will end the cash shortage that has been in the country since 2008 forcing the government to get rid of its local currency.

However, despite the issuance of the new currency, bank customers have been frustrated since their withdrawal has been limited to $20 (Ksh. 2000) every week.

“I managed to withdraw 150 Zimbabwean dollars but it is not enough to buy anything. The banks should do something about the limit, maybe increase it to Zimbabwean dollars 1,000,” John Kamuzunga, a 72-year-old pensioner, told Reuters.

Banking executives said they received the new bills late on Monday and customers were already withdrawing the money.

Tony Hawkins, a professor of business studies at the University of Zimbabwe, however said on Monday the new notes would not solve the country’s economic problems.

“What it means is that we will probably have more cash around to feed the black market for currency,” he said.

Shortages of cash, foreign currency, fuel and power are the most visible signs of the southern African nation’s worst economic crisis since 2008.

The new bank notes will circulate alongside bond notes that were introduced in 2016 as a substitute for the U.S. dollars. This was a step by the central bank to restore the Zimbabwe dollar.

After the trauma of hyperinflation, Zimbabweans now prefer to keep cash at home rather in the bank. This is because they have little faith in the country’s financial system.

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