Harare(New Ziana)-The government is investigating reports that the newly released Zimbabwe dollar notes have flooded the black market where they are being sold at a premium, the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services said on Thursday.
The new notes started circulating this week on Tuesday.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced the new notes after the government mid-this year returned the local currency as part of wider reforms, aimed at stabilizing the economy.
The currency reforms saw the government dumping use of multiple foreign currencies for local transactions, a decade after it adopted them.
In $2 and $5 denominations as well as $2 bond coins, the new currency came as a huge relief to Zimbabweans who had for years endured cash shortages and were now only managing to access it on the parallel market, for a premium.
Images of crispy new notes have however been circulating on social media, raising fears that they had been offloaded onto the black market straight from the central bank.
In a tweet, the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services said investigations were underway to track the source of the new notes being traded on the black market.
“Government through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is investigating allegations of abuse of newly released bank notes. Cash was collected by banks using their CIT vehicles on Monday. All serial numbers were recorded in the register. The offending banks will be named and severe action taken,” it said.
The central bank has said it injected over $30 million into the market, and will continue drip-feeding the new notes for the next six months until total issued cash is about a 10th of total deposits in both foreign and local currency.
Zimbabweans had over the years endured cash shortages as the central bank uncharacteristically kept cash in circulation very low compared to what is done in other economies.
The shortages of cash gave birth to multi-pricing in the economy as well as a thriving bank note selling business as some businesses such as transport operators preferred to transact in cash only.