HARARE Oct 14 Zimbabwe's tax agency on Friday
said the planned introduction of local bank notes had brought
uncertainty and worsened cash shortages as consumers hold onto
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said last month "bond notes"
would be introduced at the end of this month, raising fears of a
return to a domestic currency abandoned in 2009 as
hyperinflation soared out of control, leaving Zimbabweans using
the U.S. dollar.
Central bank chief John Mangudya told a newspaper the notes
would now be released in November after the government passes a
law to back them.
Willia Bonyongwe, chairman of the tax agency ZIMRA, said in
a statement accompanying third quarter revenue data:
"The imminent advent of the bond notes has brought some
uncertainty into the economy, and this is exacerbating the
existing liquidity challenges because everyone wants to keep
their U.S. dollar cash.
"There is a serious confidence issue on this matter."
Zimbabwe is in its worst financial crisis since it switched
its currency for the U.S. dollar, and the new notes in small
dollar denominations are intended to address cash shortages that
have fuelled protests against the government.
On revenues, Bonyongwe said the tax agency had beaten its
July-September gross tax revenue target of $917 million by 0.22
percent but it had only collected half of the targeted $29
million in mining royalties, due to weak commodity prices.
A forensic audit had revealed the "existence of endemic
corruption in ZIMRA", said Bonyongwe, adding that the tax agency
had fired several executives for graft.
"Often it has been said the economy is resilient but I
contend that it can no longer withstand the current levels of
corruption," he said.
Transparency International said on Oct. 4. Zimbabwe was
losing at least $1 billion annually to corruption, with police
and local government officials among the worst offenders.
(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)