Gono on fire-fighting mission

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono yesterday descended on Bulawayo in what analysts believe is a desperate bid to address jitters in the economy following concerns over Gideon Gono ’s plans to reintroduce the Zimbabwe dollar coupled with the pending intensification of President Robert Mugabe’s black economic empowerment policy targeting foreign banks.

Gamma Mudarikiri

Gono’s fire-fighting mission came two days after the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange plunged by 11% in the wake of Mugabe’s controversial re-election.

Without mincing his words, Gono told a Press conference at a local hotel he had been forced to fly to Bulawayo to address concerns that there were jitters in the banking sector, particularly speculation around the return of the Zimbabwe dollar.

The visit also came on the backcloth of revelations by this newspaper on Tuesday that some local banks had run out of cash as clients run for their deposits in fear of the reintroduction of the Zimbabwe dollar and the envisaged seizure of foreign owned banks.

However, the RBZ boss appealed to panic-stricken Zimbabweans not to rush to withdraw their savings from banks, insisting the new Zanu PF administration was in no hurry to bring back the local currency.
Gono said the Zimbabwe dollar could probably be returned into circulation in “not less than four years”.

He added that the return of a local currency although inevitable, could only be done when the economy had achieved a persistent growth of 7% and an industry capacity of at least 80%.

“We will be mad to return the local currency now,” Gono said.
“The country is not yet ready for that as industry is still is a sorry state,” he said.
Gono added that employment of between 60% and 70% must also be achieved before the new administration entertained any idea of returning the local currency into circulation.

Southern Eye on Tuesday revealed that a cash crisis was looming after Afrasia-Kingdom and the People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB) ran short of cash, forcing the financial institutions to limit cash withdrawals.

However, the crisis has eased, although there we still queues at some banks.

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