VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday refused to disclose to Parliament where bond notes are being printed, telling MPs to speculate if they want to.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Mnangagwa was responding to a question in the National Assembly from Binga North MP, Prince Dubeko Sibanda (MDC-T), who wanted to know if the government would not end up printing bond notes in excess of the $200 million Afrexim Bank facility.
Mnangagwa also told opposition legislators that anyone who was not comfortable with the bond notes was free to use any currency of their choice.
“MPs should not be worried because government will restrict itself to the amount of bond notes anchored on the $200 million facility,” he said.
“Those of us who feel uncomfortable using bond notes should continue using the United States dollar because bond notes and US dollars are interchangeable. If you have no faith in bond notes, why not continue using the currency that you have faith in?”
Chitungwiza North MP, Godfrey Sithole (MDC-T) then claimed that the bond notes, released into the market, were different from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) specimens advertised in newspapers.
Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T) said Mnangagwa should explain why the $200 million loan facility anchoring the bond notes was not first brought for Parliament’s approval, as required by the Public Finance Management Act.
Mnangagwa said whenever the RBZ governor deals with monetary policy issues, he has legal authority to transact with other central banks in the world for the benefit of the country.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa further explained to the House, that the legal framework for the issuing of bond notes was in place in the form of Presidential Powers and the RBZ Amendment Act.
Unimpressed, opposition MPs queried the rationale of conducting public hearings when the bond notes were already in circulation.
But Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said the surrogate currency was already in circulation courtesy of the Presidential Powers, which would expire in six months and the RBZ Act would then give them permanency.
Zanu PF chief whip, Lovemore Matuke then asked Chinamasa when banks would be issued with more bond notes, claiming people were clamouring for more, to which the Finance minister said the limit was to curb inflation. He said the government would punish shops found rejecting the bond notes.
Meanwhile, President Robert Mugabe’s address to the nation has been postponed to next week Tuesday because he is away in Cuba attending the funeral of the late Cuban President Fidel Castro.