Harare-based independent economist, John Robertson, said that when news of the promulgation of Statutory Instrument (SI) 142 broke out, he thought it was a bad practical joke.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Robertson expressed his reservations over the new policy which reintroduced the Zimbabwe Dollar while banning the use of multi-currencies in domestic transactions. He said:
I am not fully convinced it’s genuine. This idea is so bad it’s a cause for concern. I fear it may be an attempt in government to cause someone embarrassment. We hope it is revised.
For 67-year-old retired former ZESA boilermaker, David Mkono, the reintroduction of the Zimbabwe Dollar has resulted in uncertainty. Speaking to Al Jazeera, Mkono said:
At retirement, I was going to get US$223 (about R3 100) per month. I am not sure how much I am going to get now with the new changes. I really don’t know how to value this because I don’t know what $223 is now in RTGS.
Mkono, who has two children aged 12 and 8, said that galloping inflation has rendered his monthly allowance nearly worthless. He said;
The prices have gone up rapidly in the shops. When I get my monthly allowance, we realise that we can’t buy basic things like mielie meal after paying for things like school fees.
However, some economists consider the return of a local currency and banning the use of the US Dollar as totally justified. Speaking to Al Jazeera, a Harare-based economist and executive director of the CEO Africa Roundtable, Kipton Gundani said:
It’s a chance to disprove the notion that once an economy dollarises, it can’t have its currency ever. Many countries have failed.
Even if fundamentals were not yet right, the use of multi-currencies was not sustainable.
We are not producing optimally, we are vulnerable on the import cover and our economy is in recession on a GDP level.
But we are coming from a background where the RTGS was already in circulation along with other currencies and was depreciating against the US dollar at an alarming rate.
I believe this is an opportunity to create that confidence by doing the right things and desisting from doing the things that killed the first Zimbabwe dollar, such as printing money to finance budget deficits.
It’s a big gamble that we cannot afford to lose.