AMH Voices: Poor bear brunt of coin shortage


The use of multiple-currency in Zimbabwe is a way of reducing the risk and protecting citizens against inflation and devaluations. Following the free-fall of the South African rand, many people now favour bond coins.


Of course local currency is a symbol of a sovereign State, the use of foreign currency may damage a nation’s sense of pride. Unfortunately we do not have enough bond coins in circulation, that is why the common man is now being given biscuits, sweets and chewing gum as change.


Most people affected by coin shortage are from lower strata of society and they have the least voice in government. I may be seen as very suspicious if I say some people tend to store coins in their houses, which makes the coins latent for quite some time before they start their next journey. The blame game has been always there even during the era of Zimbabwe dollar.

With the current shortage of coins, supermarkets have begun increasing commodity prices. If one gives a commuter omnibus conductor $1 he will not have the 50 cent coin to give passengers as change. Next time the fare will be made in direct multiples of $1. it is same case with vegetable vendors.

The Ministry of Finance seems to be busy with bigger problems and coins shortage is not a priority. So should we leave this problem for the next decade or until someone writes in the Parliament Hansard? The use of bank cards, may curtail this problem, but with a huge chunk of the nation in the informal sector, and unbanked, only bond coins can help.


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