Chegutu West legislator Dextor Nduna has called on the government to enforce the use of bond notes by the Asian Community, especially the Chinese, because they are rejecting them and accepting only United States dollars.
“They have not gotten into a position of accepting bond notes as a legal form of tender in terms of cash. They will still sideline bond notes and only accept US$. As long as they are in Zimbabwe, it is accepted that the Minister of Finance is the overall in charge in terms of finances,” Nduna said during the debate on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill.
“I ask now, therefore, that he enforces the usage of these bond notes in the Asian community and also, whilst I am at it, that he enforces that all the Asian community be bankable. They should then take our bond notes and US$ into financial institutions which is also aligned to the introduction of this Bill.
“He should also introduce a law that forces everybody to be bankable so that we can embrace plastic money and technology, in particular our Asian community that is not bankable.”
Zimbabwe introduced bond notes to ease the cash crisis in the country towards the end of last year but has been releasing them gradually forcing people to queue for hours to get money.
Initially the central bank had announced that it would release $75 million in bond notes by the end of December, but it has so far released just $29 million.
It has, however, increased withdrawal limits but this has not resolved the crisis which was mainly caused by panic withdrawals as people rushed to withdraw their US savings fearing that they would once again be wiped out as happened in 2007-2008.
HON. NDUNA: I also want to add my voice to the RBZ Amendment Bill. I want to start by thanking the Hon. Members that spoke before me. This bond note that is being introduced – there are a few critical issues that need to be brought out, in particular, that we are holding in trust against a guarantee of US$200 million loan from Afrexim Bank. What immediately comes to mind is that whatever loan we get accrues interest and that needs to be brought into account. How that interest is being liquidated needs also to be spoken about because as long as we are accruing interest against the US$, it means we are losing value on our bond note. Over a long period of time, it then does not become 1:1 just based on the interest. Assuming the RBZ is going to sustain the convertibility of that bond note over a certain period, it needs to be explained to the nation what it is that is going to be used as a convertibility sustenance mechanism for our bond note. The sustenance can never be in perpetuity but can only come to a certain point.
However, the speaker that spoke before me alluded to the fact that there is some US$ that cannot be converted into any other currency outside the borders of this country and they can only be valuable in Zimbabwe. Given that scenario, the introduction of bond notes has been long overdue and it should have come in yesterday because we were engaged in self-servitude, meaning slavery or bondage of one’s dignity and person. We were using false currency. We were using bond notes that were printed in a US$ form. The US$ that we use in Zimbabwe can never be used anywhere else. Try changing them in a bureau de change or try exporting them to South Africa against the amount that is exportable at the airport or any borders. We are allowed US$500 as a holiday allowance but you cannot use that anywhere. In that way, this introduction of bond notes was long overdue.
I need to also deal with Section 4, where there is a question of application in retrospect. I believe in all honesty that we sat and burnt midnight candles when we were crafting and passing the labour law, which was applied in retrospect. I earnestly believe that what cannot be applied retrospectively is capital punishment. I am not a learned friend but I hope to become one very soon. So, it is my fervent view and opinion that the law in this effect can be applied retrospectively because it is devoid of capital punishment.
I also need to say that as a general rule of thumb, it has been said that the introduction of the bond note was as a 5% incentive on exports. I agree with Hon. Ziyambi to the effect that if it is alluded to as an export incentive, it becomes rather a bit on the restrictive side. However, its introduction is very important. How the Minister can bring about other ways of introducing the bond note that is broad based is now up to him as a financial guru. The issue of just saying 5% export incentive rather becomes a bit on the restrictive side in this way Mr. Speaker because as we speak, gold is the only exportable or tradable commodity. It is my belief that assuming there was no introduction of the bond note, easily in Zimbabwe we can introduce what is called the gold coin. The gold coin can be introduced because Zimbabwe is endowed with ubiquitous amount of mineral wealth. It is therefore easy for us to utilise those gold mines in particular, to produce gold coins. Al beit, we have tried and are trying to go the way all other global players have gone, introducing any other form of currency which is not gold coin or gold oriented by attaching our gold to a note called the bond note and US$ note – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Muri kuda kuti ndisadebater here. …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, order. If you are debating please, you do not have to communicate with Hon. Members who are on the other side.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you for the protection Mr. Speaker and I agree with you that this is my turn. I believe in all honest that if we bite the bullet as a nation, we can introduce the gold coin because gold is the only tradable commodity that is acceptable globally, that all other jurisdictions are buying and putting in their volts to hedge against their currencies getting weaker day by day. I believe this is a stop gap measure but going forward, if we include the marginalised gold producers Mr. Speaker, and start first and foremost by removing the issue called alienship and register everybody in Zimbabwe so that they all have identity documents and birth certificates in order that as they grow into artisanal mining field, they are well documented and can be given an incentive. They can be brought into the mainstream of the economy because it is these people that are not documented that are producing a lot of gold.
The RBZ Governor in his Mid-term Monetary Statement, alluded to the fact that, of the 684 million produced in terms of gold Mr. Speaker, 40 – 60% of that was produced by small scale and artisanal miners. These people are not well documented. Also, in his Mid-Term Monetary Statement at some point, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development alluded to the fact that there was more than 500 000 of these artisanal and small scale miners. These are the people that are bringing in the gold, which gold we are exporting in order to introduce the bond note. This Mr. Speaker, is an abstract way of looking at it.
We need to be forward thinking and see exactly where we are coming from, where we are and where we are going. These are the people that if they continue to be disenfranchised, then the nation will be at a standstill. How do I propose that the 5% export incentive gets to be paid to these people because they are scattered all over in terms of their modus operandi. They are also not well-documented. If these people are not paid their 5% export incentive, what is going to obtain is that the money which is supposed to be paid to these people who are a pillar in terms of the economy of this country, it is going to be pilfered and engaged in illicit outflows by Fidelity Printers officers. These are the people that are buying that gold from artisanal miners, aware and cognisant of the fact that they do not come back to claim that money; aware and also cognisant of the fact that these people do not have the requisite accounts where this money can be paid into. They can pilfer that money using other means that are sophisticated.
Mr. Speaker Sir, what I also need to put in as a second proposal is that there are bus operators that currently carry a lot of passengers into Zimbabwe which request foreign currency for the payment of fares into Zimbabwe. As long as the receipting of that money is well-documented, I ask that the Minister of Finance accept those receipts and monies banked in local banks for those bus operators who would have imported US$ through passengers and through physical cash which is in foreign currency form. I ask that this be considered as an export oriented approach so that these people also qualify for a 5% export incentive that is paid in the form of bond notes.
These were the two proposals that I had and I now call for the enforcement of the usage of these bond notes. There has not been acceptance from the Asian community, in particular, the Chinese Mr. Speaker Sir. They have not gotten into a position of accepting bond notes as a legal form of tender in terms of cash. They will still sideline bond notes and only accept US$. As long as they are in Zimbabwe, it is accepted that the Minister of Finance is the overall in charge in terms of finances.
I ask now, therefore, that he enforces the usage of these bond notes in the Asian community and also, whilst I am at it, that he enforces that all the Asian community be bankable. They should then take our bond notes and US$ into financial institutions which is also aligned to the introduction of this Bill. He should also introduce a law that forces everybody to be bankable so that we can embrace plastic money and technology, in particular our Asian community that is not bankable. Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate undisturbed, unequivocal, effectively and efficiently with a voice that is going to make sure that this law is introduced. – The Insider