Enterprising foreign currency exchange dealers in Francistown are getting into cash selling business amid reports the Zimbabwean bond notes are being shipped out of the neighbouring country.
Voice Money has established that foreign currency dealers conducting business in Francistown are targeting travelers visiting Zimbabwe.
Bond notes were introduced towards the end of last year and were meant to plug leakages of foreign currency as they can only be used as legal tender in Zimbabwe.
However, bond notes have found their way into different countries sharing boundaries with Zimbabwe.
Foreign currency dealers have taken advantage of the situation and are now shipping the notes out of Zimbabwe’s borders, where they exchange with regional currencies to people entering the country.
“It is a brisk business for us. A number of Batswana do travel to Zimbabwe on weekly basis attending church services at Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries in Harare, Zimbabwe,” said Memory Molepo, a foreign currency exchange dealer in Francistown.
According to Molepo, the business is lucrative because the exchange rate is at par with the United States (US) dollar.
In addition, the current cash crisis that has gripped Zimbabwe has made their business to be more brisk.
“Batswana and Zimbabweans working and residing in Botswana would not want to be part of those long queues which have become the order of the day at financial institutions in Zimbabwe,” said another foreign currency exchange dealer, Tendani Babili.
The development has created high demand for money as local bank customers need the notes which are now being shipped out of the country. Travelers to Zimbabwe opt for the bond notes since their currencies are not widely used in Zimbabwe although they are part of the multi-currency basket.
Voice Money has been reliably informed that the situation has resulted in the shortage of the bond notes in the neighbouring country.
The cash shortages have seen some banks cut withdrawal limits to as low as $30 per day, with some banks disbursing coins.
Foreign currency exchange dealers at Ramokgwebana Border Post have also witnessed a brisk business because people know that Zimbabwe was “facing serious cash challenges” and would rather cross into the country after securing the bond notes.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr. John Mangudya confirmed in a telephone interview with Voice Money that the notes were now being taken out of the country, blaming indiscipline and the lack of confidence in the local banking system.
“There is a lot of indiscipline in this economy. There is a thin line between indiscipline and lack of confidence. People should learn to bank their money and no one should trade in foreign currency if they are not registered,” fumed Mangudya.
He said they have also discovered that money changers were being supported by unscrupulous traders and individuals who have a strong appetite of rent seeking behavior and financial externalization.