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Monday, February 21, 2011

US govt agrees to supply coins

Monday, 21 February 2011 16:48

Staff Writer

FORGET change problems, getting a token or a sweet as change and being stuck
with greasy soiled notes. This is because the United States Federal Reserve
has agreed to supply coins and replace soiled notes to Zimbabwean banks in a
bid to end change problems in the economy, businessdigest has established.

According to sources, representatives Bankers Association of Zimbabwe led by
its president and FBC Bank boss John Mushayavanhu met Finance minister
Tendai Biti last week to map a way forward in dealing with change problems in the economy.

The sources, said the US Federal Reserve have “formally” agreed that
Zimbabwe’s economy is now dollarised and will now supply Zimbabwe with coins
and replace notes.

Officials from the Finance ministry will soon depart for the US to airlift
the coins to Zimbabwe, the source said.
Banks and government, according to the sources have agreed to charter an Air
Zimbabwe flight to pick up the coins in the US. The flight costs will be met
by both government and banks.

Zimbabwe has been saddled with change problems since the introduction of
multi-currencies in February 2009.
Retailers are offering consumers credit notes, tokens and even sweets to
settle small change.
Mushavanhu on Wednesday declined to comment on the matter referring all
questions to Biti who was unreachable at the time of going to press.
In his 2011 budget statement, Biti said government had engaged the United
States Federal Reserve over possible provision of coins and replacement of
soiled notes to ease small change problems in the country.

Biti said: “I am pleased to advise on the fruitful interactions with the US
Department of the Treasury which stands ready to facilitate access to
acquisition of smaller denominated coins and replacement of soiled notes
through the US Federal Reserve and commercial banks. I will, therefore, be
finalising on this in conjunction with the banking system, that way
resolving the matter of challenges with change and coins.”

“The availability of both US dollar and rand coins will do away with the
challenges posed by the current need to apply cross rates in giving change
in rand coins for transactions undertaken in US dollars,” Biti said.. “Whilst
this problem should be alleviated by electronic payment systems, the large
size of the informal sector and the lack of infrastructure for electronic
payment systems in rural areas necessitate the availability of large volumes
of small denominations”.

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