The President says a new structured currency is on the way, what’s that all about?

Leonard Sengere Avatar
cryptocurrencies Africa zimbabwe

“If at first you don’t succeed, then dust yourself off and try again,” go the lyrics and all my millennials have the song playing in their minds right now.

It appears Aaliyah spoke to older generations too because the Zimbabwean govt announced some new currency measures. Apparently, there is a structured currency on the way. Talk about the art of dusting yourself off and trying again.

The govt is not hiding its head in the sand this time around, they admit that there is some work to be done. In Zimbabwe, we have had the govt deny what we saw with our own eyes. A good example being the 1:1 days, where the govt maintained that the ZW$ was equal in value to the USD.

The govt still does his to some extent, maintaining that the bank rate is the correct exchange rate when the parallel market screams otherwise.

Anyway, this time around the President admits that:

  • inflation is out of control and prices are rising wickedly
  • the foreign exchange is unstable beyond belief
  • the ZW$ is losing value like it’s in style
  • Zimbabweans are not saving any money

The govt has a number of measures that they believe will sort it all out. In fact, the President says “a raft of measures” so plan accordingly.

The end goal is the stability and growth of our economy and the President says this can be achieved in two ways – crafting prudent fiscal and monetary policies and promoting a conducive business environment.

Promoting a conducive business environment should be easy but alas, Zimbabwe still hasn’t gotten it right. It goes even beyond high taxation, unpredictable policymakers, high inflation, shortage of forex etc. We get even the small things wrong.

Now, what can we say about currency reforms in this country? We have seen it all. We are a case study for Economics majors across the world. While the results have been terrible, you can’t fault Zimbabwe for the audacity of trying new and novel currency reforms.

Structured Currency

President Mnangagwa said,

We shall soon be announcing the introduction of our structured currency

When he said that, Zimbos said “Oh, a structured currency, will that work?” Inside they were screaming, “What on God’s green Earth is a structured currency?”

We all must have bunked the particular Economics lectures where they talked about structured currencies. We turned to Google and even the big G tapped out.

That’s because there is no such thing as a structured currency in the sense that we would think about it. We dealt with bond notes that were classified as a quasi-currency and so were quick to think along those lines when we heard about the soon to be introduced structured currency.

I believe the structured currency he speaks of is the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has been working on.

Short timeline of the RBZ on CBDCs:

  • The RBZ first let us know that they were looking into CBDCs back in 2021.
  • In the Mid-Term Monetary Policy Statement of August 2022, the RBZ said it had conducted study tours to countries that are advanced in CBDC endeavours and had developed a roadmap for adoption of CBDC in Zimbabwe.
  • The RBZ released a consultation paper on CBDCs, inviting dialogue from the public.
  • Later that same year, 2022, the RBZ carried out consultations and ran a consumer perception survey
  • In early 2023, the RBZ was still inviting input from the public on the CBDCs

CBDC

We talked extensively about CBDCs before but here is the gist of what that is.

CBDCs are the digital form of a nation’s currency. The Reserve Bank RBZ) would issue, regulate and control the CBDC.

It is not a new currency. Rather, we would be introducing a digital token/virtual form of the RTGS$. So, it is backed by the full faith and credit of the RBZ, whatever that’s worth.

Ah, and there goes the excitement and/or fear. The structured currency is more of the same, whatever plagues the RTGS$ will also plague the CBDC because they are essentially the same thing in different forms.

You can dig into what CBDCs are all about here: Zim govt looking at central bank digital currency, what is that and why won’t it fix our problems

It could be something else

The structured currency remark could just mean currency reforms like changes in currency denominations, the introduction of new security features, or adjustments to the monetary policy framework.

Or maybe the President is talking about adjustments to interest rates, inflation targets, or foreign exchange policies as bringing structure to our currency.

Another possibility is that we will be pegging our currency to another currency, to stabilise exchange rates. I really hope it’s not this. We tried pegging our currency to the USD before and it didn’t work.

Or the Zimbabwean govt really is introducing a new currency. One not tainted by the failures of the ZW$ and RTGS$. I don’t think this will work either because the fundamentals are not right for the introduction of a new currency. It would just fail.

Anyway, it’s only a matter of time. We shall know what’s what soon enough when we start using the new structured currency.

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44 comments

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  1. Juno

    Aaaaarggghhhh

  2. Anonymous

    Oh God! Here we go again!

  3. The Last Don

    It’s like we are the guinea pigs of economic mismanagement. Everything which has been tried has failed. From Agro Bills right up to the RTGS. What makes them think this “Structured Currency” will work. Are they fearing an economic Tshabangu will pop out of the market should they leave it without structures?

    1. Always Off Topic

      No no , we want unstructured ambiguity, it works I tell you.

    2. Leonard Sengere

      I think “guinea pigs” is a spot on term. This must be the matrix and we’ve been chosen as a test site, an economic Area 51.

      1. Anonymous

        agreed

    3. Michael Souris

      The last don: Agreed, we are being used like guinea pigs, but then it’s only because citizens have, and it appears will, do naff all to stop it! They’ve done nothing constructive, to keep a credible alternative alive and well, contesting all seats, and sod-all to give change a chance, since 1985! Unless and until all that changes, Zimbabwe is DOOMED, not just by zpf’s destructive rule, but by citizen apathy and stupidity!

  4. Always Off Topic

    And yes ladies and gents it’s that time again. Is this Mangudya ‘s last salvo? A parting gift we can remember him by. Either way, Hokoyo , take cover!!!!

    1. Zuze

      The Bond note failed;

      The ZW$L (whatever that was) failed;

      The Gold Coins failed;

      The Mini-gold Mosies (sounded as irritating as the night mossies) failed,

      Enter the latest experiment “Structured Currency ” Bound to fail just as Bearer Cheques, Agro-Dealer cheques.

      Maybe we are going to get Gold Mafia cheques

      1. Leonard Sengere

        Gold Mafia cheques 😂😂😂 I would be behind those.

        But yah, looking at the list of everything that’s failed makes for painful reading.

      2. Hugh Jarse

        Like any, and everything else in Zimbabwe, this won’t work. A whole change of govt is needed, but with vote rigging, an opposition who can’t or refuse, to do anything constructive to stop it, and one greedy stupid, going all-in, just to keep its sodding seat and perks in parliament, we are doomed as a nation. That said, citizens are as much to blame, if not more so… They’ve done sod-all to keep credible opposition alive and kicking, since the 1980’s, and were stupid enough to let zpf ruin Zimbabwe, without protest, until recently! One greedy stupid went all-in as well, just to keep its sodding perch in parliament, with a side-bet on the presidency for good measure, and you lot all wonder why you’re still in your self-inflicted mess!

  5. James

    For Zimbabwe to recover there is more to do than introduce a new currency. Infact points below (and more) need to be addressed and we would not need a “new” currency. No need to re-invent the wheel
    1. Corruption Kills and the culture within the country that has developed over the last decade has got steadily worse with regard corruption at every level. Unfortunately, the rule of law has been so blatantly disregarded at the highest level that it has rotted the lowest as well. When the rift between the official and the black-market rates allows for money to be made by those with access to official funds there is no incentive for them to control the market. In fact, the bigger the gap, the more there is to be made by those with the access.
    2. Fiscal control within Govt does not exist, if the funds are not in the account then just add a zero to the balance and pay out anyway. In order to secure more funds Govt don’t control themselves but try and tax the citizens that are legal to death. Those on the fringes and in the informal sector make more while legal business is throttled.
    3. Whatever the currency the market needs to determine the rate, having a false official rate when payments are allowed in RTGS way overinflates the USD price required. If the rate was market set (meaning no double rate) this would not happen and cost of living would be down allowing citizens and business to budget effectively. Fair marks up aside, product that is landed in Zimbabwe at $1 cannot be sold for $3. That is just criminal but in Zimbabwe is standard practice.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      I couldn’t agree more. Corruption, poor fiscal control and command-style exchange rate management have been our undoing for decades now. We can innovate as much as we want on quasi-currencies, structured currencies, CBDCs etc but those fundamentals will doom all our attempts. Those guys know this and so it’s disappointing that they go through with stuff like this.

      1. Tito

        Let them try. Zimbabwean grandma cooked stones and get something to consume. Kkkk

    2. Anonymous

      Good sense

  6. Tiger Mutu

    Well, since Panonetsa (Nkathazile)was shipped out, perhaps the new guy in town has a magic wand hopefully

    1. Leonard Sengere

      He better have one because the mess he is inheriting requires the supernatural.

  7. AOWB

    Maybe it will be backed by Zimbabwe’s massive assets – gold , diamonds, and many Rare earth elements. REEs god Zimbabwe!!

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Will we reintroduce the gold standard? That would be the day.

      1. Stones

        Ah! Mozisi

    2. Hooking Fell

      It has nothing whatsoever, to back it up! This is another “currency” which, just like all those before it, will come crashing down! It’s yet another zpf smoke and mirrors act, which won’t achieve anything for even the medium term, before it all goes pear-shaped yet again!

  8. Chibhalo

    Let us wait and see what it all means. Writing a negative article about something that is unknown yet is poor journalism

    1. Leonard Sengere

      We already know that the fundamentals are not right. Something even Mthuli has been telling us for years. The currency is doomed to fail, whatever form it takes.

    2. James

      And you honestly believe after many failed attempts they can do it correctly?

  9. Tired Zimbo

    Here we go again

  10. Mistubish Pajero

    We need sit down and refresh our minds it’s not easy to run economy in a bad state

    1. Richard Turpin

      I’d like to hear an explanation of the “structured currency”! To me, it’s just more zpf BS, to say a new set of notes will be issued, with a whole lot of zeros lopped off, and nothing to back it, as is the case now.

  11. lindo

    “… a digital token/virtual form of the RTGS$.”
    Sounds a lot like Ecocash

  12. Ishmael

    Let us give a try nothing to lose

    1. On your marks, get ready, Bank Run!!!

      Sure, just pardon me as I convert every last electronic cent I have into USD cash before we begin. Not that anything bad will happen

  13. Bill

    We all know the one and only solution. An honest, non corrupt government in power in Zimbabwe.
    But Oscar Pistorius has for more chance of getting athlete’s foot than this!!!!!

  14. Mukanya

    Wishful thinking behind liquor shop..

  15. Michael Souris

    It’s simply more zpf BS! Still, citizens have only themselves to blame! They’ve refused point blank, to do ANYTHING to get rid of the cause of all their self-inflicted problem, namely ZANU-PF, and worse is to come. I’ll bet the greenback returns full time, soon! Now, even that idiot Cross is getting in on the act, from the look of it, and he was at one point declared insolvent! Shows you what idiots Zimbabwean citizens are, keeping zpf in place, and doing nothing, since the 1980’s, to get a credible alternative in place… More economic ruin is assured, but then that’s what you stupid citizens voted for, and show no interest in getting out of your self-inflicted mess as well!

    1. Zero

      Idzi dzitori emotional

    2. Teddy

      ZanuPf ndiwe neni, ndiBaba vako, Muzukuru wako, Munin’ina wako. Simply put, ZanuPf derives membership from the same pool as any other political party. It’s 6 n 9 lol

  16. Tito

    Let them try. Zimbabwean grandma cooked stones and get something to consume. Kkkk

  17. Munhu

    It’s not the problem of currency but confidence with the banking system.As long as the commercial banks do not pay interest on savings and banks chew saving left overnight we will always shy away from banks.

    Some of us grow in Rhodesia we used to get interest on our POSB account every year.We know your was able to withdraw all their money from a current account as opposed to these days were banks open fake current accounts for their clients.

  18. Finish

    All money changes are always done during tobacco selling period to deprive the farmers there sweat.

  19. Teddy

    This is the result when the majority of nation’s population are learned crooks! That’s the mother of all fundamentals- decent people who put civilized behaviour ahead of selfish thievery.

  20. McDoughnut

    Zimbos dont trust the government as the past has taught us painfully.As long we dont believe in the financial systems ,RBZ can even introduce spiritual currency but no one will take it seriously.In fact word on the street is that its another strategy designed to wipe out all foreign currency in the banking system and leave people with valueless digital currency.If they’re genuine they will disband RBZ,implement radical economic reforms,action all Auditor General reports,run lifestyle audits in the civil service convict and arrest everyone found guilty regardless of position and finally use our feared CIO to weed corruption from the topdown and instil fear in anyone who might intend to engage in any corrupt activities.Appointments of any and all positions should be based on meritocracy and performance audits constantly done to maintain high standards…but who am I kidding ,we know these guys right lol

  21. Biggaz

    They are going to slash zeroes so that the ZWL becomes heroes again and then purport its backed by gold from the gold reserves. That is my take , its the best shot they have. Anything else won’t even work. Not saying this works too, except, it will prolong our suffering a while longer.

  22. Kutyauripo

    Haven’t we been down this road many times before?
    Some even swore their careers on the success of the ‘reforms’

    1. Always led by the nose

      Indeed they swore…zvikaramba ndopisa gemenzi🤣🤣

  23. Freddy

    Export invoices should be in local currency.Gvt dept should be in local currency.

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