Zimbabwe currency mistake won’t be repeated, says govt

Zimbabwe secretary for finance George Guvamatanga says the country won’t repeat the mistake of abandoning its own currency. A decade ago skyrocketing inflation sent the struggling economy into chaos and forced the country to adopt a stronger more stable currency. The Zimbabwean dollar was reintroduced to the economy last year and took a tumble when it abandoned its peg of 25 to the US dollar. Guvamatanga says  Zimbabwe will rebuild on the back of its own currency. – Melani Nathan

Zimbabwe rules out return to US Dollar, backs local currency

By Godfrey Marawanyika

(Bloomberg) — Zimbabwe’s government has ruled out adopting the US dollar as its default tender again, saying it won’t repeat its past mistake of abandoning the local currency. “One of the biggest mistakes was dollarising and removing your own currency,” Secretary for Finance George Guvamatanga told business leaders in the capital, Harare.

“We will build this economy on the basis of the Zimbabwe dollar. The local currency will anchor this budget.” Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube last week presented a budget that targets spending of 421.6bn Zimbabwean dollars ($5.2bn) next year, with a deficit of 4.9bn Zimbabwean dollars.

The government sees the economy rebounding to expand 7.4% in 2021 after contracting 4.1% this year. Zimbabwe reintroduced its own currency last year, after a 10-year hiatus caused by the scrapping of the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009 following a bout of hyperinflation. The country used multiple foreign currencies during this period, with the greenback as the main unit of reference.

The central bank announced in June that it will introduce a foreign-exchange auction trading system, abandoning a peg of 25 to the US dollar that was introduced three months before. The currency slumped about 70% before stabilizing at just more than 80 to the greenback from September.

Inflation peaked at 837.5% in July and slowed to 471.3% last month. Price growth could ease to 9% by the end of 2021 due to exchange-rate stabilization measures adopted by the central bank, Governor John Mangudya said earlier this month.

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