Illegal money changers exchange a Zimbabwean bond note, left, and US dollar notes in the capital, Harare. Picture: REUTERS
Illegal money changers exchange a Zimbabwean bond note, left, and US dollar notes in the capital, Harare. Picture: REUTERS

Zimbabwe’s government was on Monday denied reports that it may introduce a new currency this week, amid  fears that such a move would worsen the country’s economic crisis.

Zimbabwe has been without a currency of its own since 2008 when the government ditched the infamous Zimbabwean dollar amid crippling hyperinflation. The highest denominated banknote was  Z$100 trillion at the time.

In a tweet on its official account, the ministry of information, publicity and broadcasting services denied that there were plans to introduce a new currency.

“Government has noted with concern falsehoods coming from some political quarters claiming that Zimbabwe will issue new currency next week. This needs to be dismissed with the contempt it deserves. This has no base in fact or reality. It's unfounded Fake News.”

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) also tweeted: “The RBZ would like to urge members of the public to dismiss, with utmost contempt, claims being circulated on social media regarding the introduction of a new Zimbabwe currency. The country shall continue to use the multi-currency system.”

Former finance Minister Tendai Biti raised a red flag on Monday when he tweeted that he had been alerted of plans to introduce  a new currency.

Biti, who is a senior official of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, called the plans  “undiluted insanity”.

“The regime will, this week, introduce a new Zimbabwe currency not backed by any reserves and without the context of structural reforms which are a prerequisite of currency reform.

“That move is pure undiluted insanity. An un-bankable currency is just the bond note by another name. There is no country in the world that has voluntarily dollarised and that has ever succeeded in de-dollarising," he said.

Biti has said  Zimbabwe's best  option is to  adopt the rand.

"Considering the harm and damage inflicted on this economy by its central bank over the year to now, the question to be posed is; does Zimbabwe really need a central bank? In my submission, it can and will do without one.”

Last week, the RBZ postponed an announcement on monetary policy amid fear in the finance ministry and at the central bank that any new measures would worsen the country’s economic crisis.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube has said Zimbabwe's new currency would be released by year end.