Local banks have repatriated 25 million rand worth of coins to South Africa.
They have been holding the coins for months following resistance of acceptance on the local market, it has emerged.
Speaking at the Independent Dialogue Forum Wednesday, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono said the development has been as a result of the continued impasse between the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and the Retailers Association of Zimbabwe.
“BAZ had to seek assistance from my office that I write a letter to my counterpart in South Africa so that they accept a return of the $25m rand back into their economy,” said Gono.
He said the issue of coins would be addressed in his forthcoming monetary policy review statements expected in a few weeks.
Since the adoption of the multi-currency system in 2009, the United States dollar and the South African rand have become the dominant units of exchange in business transactions in the country.
CBZ chief executive officer John Mangudya said his bank still had in its vaults at least $10m rand coins but was failing to find takers.
He said as banks, they were now encouraging consumers to make use of credit cards to eliminate the need for change.
“As far as we are concerned, there is change in this country but the issue is how do we get the coins into the shops where they are required?
“We feel disappointed that retailers want US dollar coins yet we are using multiple currencies,” said Mangudya.
Gono said the issue of coins had to be dealt with in order to protect the voiceless and disadvantaged members of society.
“I am aware that CBZ has 10 million worth of coins and other banks have similar amounts. We will bring the retailers and banks together so that we find an amicable way forward,” he said.
In his National Budget presentation in November last year, Finance minister Tendai Biti said the inadequacy of small denominations under the multiple currency regime has seen consumers forced to buy unbudgeted for items while sellers of goods and services were rounding up prices.
He said while the problem should be alleviated by electronic payment systems, the large size
of the informal sector and the lack of infrastructure for electronic payment systems in rural areas necessitate the availability of large volumes of small denominations.
Biti said the availability of both US dollar and rand coins would do away with the challenges posed by the current need.