I regret printing money — Gono

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono yesterday said he regrets printing loads of worthless Zimbabwean dollars, a situation that led to record hyperinflationary levels in the country three years ago.

Gono made the startling remarks at the Independent Dialogue sponsored by the Zimbabwe Independent in Harare while responding to questions regarding when the country was likely to return to the Zimbabwean dollar.

He said printing money like what the US is currently doing was improper, adding the budget deficits were not healthy for an economy as they could lead to currency difficulties.

Said Gono: “If that (extensive printing of money) doesn’t weaken a currency, I don’t know what will. Extensive printing of money — get it from me, I have got experience in that so if there is something that I can teach the world as free advice to the US and those countries that are relying on the printing press is — Don’t do it!”

“So please, my brother from the US embassy, take that message to the Treasury Secretary and say some little bugger there who has a lot of experience says he loses sleep when he sees you printing, printing against a background he has attached his economic fortunes to you. Hence, we are saying you are no longer on your own to an extent that we have tied our economic fortunes to you. Please, just behave. Don’t behave in the manner in which I was behaving.

“Let me say that no self-respecting nation in the world can do without its own currency. Even those nations that have gone into common markets chose to keep their own currency. Britain is part of the European Union, but has decided to keep their pound.

“There are also times when it is necessary to step back and reconfigure yourself before you go about wanting your own currency and we are in that phase. I think the Minister of Finance has made pronouncements with regard to certain conditions that have to be met before we can talk about the return of the Zimbabwean dollar. We are not at variance with respect to that.”

Gono said there was a danger of a country attaching itself or economic fortunes to a country that could be on a downward trend.

During the time there was too much money chasing too few goods, Zimbabwe was awash with loads of worthless dollars used to purchase the US dollar on the black market.

Capacity utilisation in industry dropped to below 10 percent.

The resultant shortages gave birth to a thriving black market and speculative tendencies.

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