So yesterday the government of Zimbabwe officially introduced the Zimbabwean dollar as our new currency and sole legal tender. Here are answers to some of the burning questions you might have.

What exactly is the Zimbabwean dollar?

According to the new law the Zimbabwean dollar comprises of all the RTGS balances in our bank and Ecocash (mobile wallet) accounts as well as the bond notes and coins already in circulation

Is the government going to print new dollars?

For now the Zimbabwean dollar is made of RTGS bank balances and bond notes and coins. The law simply renames what we have been calling RTGS dollars and now says we are to refer to them as Zimbabwean Dollars. It’s possible that actual notes will be printed in the future.

What is Legal tender?

Under Zimbabwe law it generally means that the designated money is valid payment for all debts unless there is a specific agreement to the contrary. It’s the currency that will be generally used to express the prices of goods, services, company accounts etc

Are you obligated to accept it instead of Rand, USD, Pounds etc?

This is not yet clear although the purpose of the law might have been to force people to use the Zimbabwean dollar for all local transactions legal experts from Veritas and others say it falls short of this.

Can you mark your prices in USD or other currencies if you are a business?

According to an interpretation of the law by lawyers, there is nothing in the law prohibiting this. There is no law in Zimbabwe that currently forces people to sell in legal tender.

Is it illegal to possess US dollars or Rands or carry them on your person?

Most certainly not, social media, updates claim the police will sieze your money if they find you with foreign currency. Now that is certainly false. In fact you will still need foreign currency to pay duty to ZIMRA

If you have a Nostro FCA account can you deposit and withdraw forex?

According to the law yes. The law specifically says it is not meant to impact on the operation of nostro accounts.

Will this mean prices of basic goods will fall?

We have heard people on the streets saying this. No, prices are not going to fall because of this measure. If anything this new measure is going to lead to empty shop shelves reminiscent of 2008 if it is improperly enforced.

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