New Zimbabwean dollar causes another stir

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THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has brewed another shocker when it unveiled new $10 000 and $20 000 notes this morning.

This coincides with the increase of maximum daily withdrawal limits to $20 000 for individuals and $10 000 for companies.

Before the increase, the maximum withdrawal limit was set at $1 000, which tallied with the biggest note of $1 000 (about US$17).

Not to be outdone by RBZ shops and transport operators hiked prizes of their services.

Last week in Bulawayo RBZ Building in Bulawayo was stoned and damaged by some residents who were angered by their failure to access cash from banks.

The building, situated in the city centre, was damaged after scores of people attacked it with stones and an assortment of missiles, chanting anti-RBZ Governor, Gideon Gono, slogans.

Some were also shouting obscenities at the central bank governor while others took a swipe at the government.

The bone of contention was that people were no longer able to access their salaries from banks with the withdrawal limit still a paltry ZW$1 000, which is not enough to buy a softdrink.

Meanwhile, the government and RBZ have been taken to court by four citizens over “inhumane and degrading” cash withdrawal limits that see people queue for hours to obtain small amounts that barely cover basic necessities.

In the papers filed with the country’s high court four Zimbabweans said the then maximum daily cash withdrawal limit of 1 000 Zimbabwe dollars ($17) is an infringement of their constitutional rights.

The petitioners – Roger Chagwededza, Tinashe Gotora, Jackson Mabota and Precious Mwateyeni – want the limitation of withdrawals imposed by the RBZ to be declared unlawful.

As a way of trying to ease cash shortages, the RBZ has put a limit on the amount of money that one can withdraw per day.

Human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama, who is representing the petitioners said “we have served the papers on the respondents and we are expecting to be given a hearing date of the matter by early next week.”

High cost of living  In the past year alone, food prices have shot through the roof while other household essentials have undergone unprecedented price hikes. Coupled with a global financial meltdown, this situation has been mostly harsh on the poor. The Haiti food riots which began in April, 2008, quickly spread like wild fire to Egypt, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon... According to experts, this situation was in part created by careless government policies, the rising popularity of bio-fuels as well as the global financial crisis, among other factors...
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