FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa has declared that the planned introduction of bond notes to ease the cash crisis was non-negotiable, adding government was determined to implement the new measures despite massive resistance from various quarters of the population.
Chinamasa told a public discussion, organised by the Southern African Political and Economic Series (Sapes) Trust, in Harare last Thursday that Zimbabweans had no choice, but to accept the bond notes as part of several measures to bring stability into the economy.
“We are asking Zimbabweans to take a leap of faith into the future. We all lost something in the past, but we cannot be held back by what happened. Some people will have to jump unwittingly. You are going to jump and some of you we will ask you in future how you jumped,” he said.
Chinamasa was referring to the growing public sentiments against the “re-introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar through the back door”, as the bond notes have come to be characterised.
We are not introducing the local currency. Our people do not want to hear anything about it. The bond notes will be here until our currency returns when the fundamentals are right. But we will keep on consulting. Nothing is cast in stone regarding the policy pronouncements we have made. But we must make sure whatever we say, we are aware of our unique situation as a country,” he said.
Economists, opposition parties and the public in general have all voiced concerns and scepticism over the introduction of the bond notes.
Most have argued government is being insincere saying the bond notes are an indirect introduction of the country’s currency, which was rejected by the economy over five years ago.
The Treasury chief accused Zimbabweans of being too sceptical and “specialised in painting a gloomy picture”.
“We do not need Zimbabweans to make this kind of noise. I can bet when foreigners come to Zimbabwe, they will say how nice the country is, but our people could cry ‘no, it is not’,” Chinamasa said.
“There is no security risk posed by bond notes. The greatest security risk to our country is an economy that is not growing. We have said this to our colleagues in the security sector. The economy is our first line of defence and the consequences of an economy that is not growing are far worse.”
But former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Kombo Moyana shot down bond notes, saying they would not plug the cash shortages.