It’s something any idiot could have predicted. When I heard that the RBZ was finally releasing the $50 ZWL note a few weeks ago I rushed to offload all my $10 bond notes. We have seen this happen in the market, whenever the RBZ releases a new bigger note the public starts rejecting the smallest note in circulation. First, it was the coins as they fell, by the way, one by one. Then people started rejecting bond notes and now it’s the $10 ZWL note. More and more people in the informal sector are no longer accepting it. The note is all but demonetised.
Instead of accepting this, the RBZ is having none of it. Again they are pulling the legal tender card. According to the central bank, all notes (shouldn’t this be currency?) in circulation are still legal tender. It’s strange that the bank says notes and not currency. The term notes refer to paper currency but the central bank also issued coins during the same time. Does it mean they have finally thrown in the towel and accepted that bond coins are no longer legal tender?
The Bank would like to advise the public that all banknotes issued by RBZ since 2016 are legal tender in Zimbabwe. Traders who reject such notes should be reported to the Financial Intelligence Unit on hotline numbers 0714039897 or 0780434475.The statement by the RBZ on Twitter.
What this statement means is that all notes the bank has issued including those long dead $2 bond, $5 bond and $5 ZWL notes are still legal tender. If the bank is to be taken at it’s command it means businesses and the public should be accepting these notes. The truth is that’s never happening like ever. The public moved on from these notes a long time ago. Not even kids pick them up from the street anymore that’s how serious people are. Claiming that something is legal tender isn’t going to suddenly make people accept them.
Why people are demonitising the note
The $10 will probably meet the same fate. It’s not like people are being unreasonable by rejecting it. The RBZ insists on issuing very low-value notes because for some reason they think it makes them good economists and somehow prevents inflation. You need sackfuls of $10 ZWL notes which is worth less than US$0.10 in order to buy groceries for your family. The only reason people were tolerating this note is that there were not enough $20 ZWL notes in circulation to meet demand in the market. Now that there is a new note they need not do that.
Based on past experience the RBZ will not prevail so if you have the notes in your possession you need to spend them now while there are still businesses that are accepting them. These days not even the government itself accepts those worthless $2 and $5 bond notes. This is despite what the RBZ is saying. If you don’t want to be left stuck with sackfuls of $10 ZWL notes spend them now or find a way to exchange them for $20 ZWL or $50 ZWL.