Our economy has been through all sorts in the last few years. It’s has gone from a functional Zimbabwe dollar to a dysfunctional dollar that saw unprecedented levels of hyperinflation that caused all sorts of chaos. It got to a point where it didn’t make sense to transact in our own currency where trillion dollar notes were being exchanged for goods and services. This crisis eventually led to businesses and traders alike resorting to only accepting foreign currency with the government also conceding and adopting the multi currency economy we live in.
The acceptance and use of multiple currencies eased a lot of pressure for many a Zimbabwean even though many may not of have respected the mighty US dollar for the value it holds. But, the adoption of all of these currencies has also brought about its own challenges such as really dirty money which is something we now just live with but now, it’s getting harder to get a hold of actual physical cash, dirty or not.
Besides dirty money, the multi currency economy has brought about a cash crisis/liquidity crisis where citizens just don’t have cash in hand. You may have a bank account that says you have $xyx in it but getting that money may be easier said than done. People just don’t have the cash that they need to get on with their daily lives.
That said, banks are now putting daily limits on withdrawals, travellers can only take certain amount of money out of the country and business looking to import products have to go through a tedious process in order to pay for their imports.
The ongoing crisis has spurred the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to take action with that being them announcing the introduction of bond notes. We already have a few million dollars worth of bond coins floating around the country, coins that some people still won’t accept.
The looming injection of bond notes into the economy has freaked out quite a few people. Why? They see it as the return of bearer cheques that saw us transacting in billions and trillions. The RBZ has picked up on public concern and have tried to allay fears. They have put out statements such as they will not replace the current multi currency and that more bond notes will not be printed at will. But, this is all just a wait and see.
Whatever the case may be, hope is still there that we may one day (sooner rather than later) get back to having a stable economy.
Some people are taking to hilarity maybe as a way of coping with what may come. One example was in the form of a WhatsApp forward that outlined practical steps to getting by in a bond note economy:
10 practical steps to beating Bond Notes
1. Find something that you can do that doesn’t require you to import but can be produced with local materials.
2. Find something that you can export.
3. Don’t sell your assets.
4. If you have a kumusha, buy cattle now, especially if your home area hasn’t been hit by drought.
5. Downsize. If you have a car downsize to a smaller and more fuel efficient vehicle. If you are renting a house, downsize to a smaller one or change suburbs.
6. Don’t do things for prestige. Send your children to a school you can afford.
7. If you have space, grow vegetables and/or breed chickens (and zvihuta!).
8. If you are renting but have a stand elsewhere, move to your stand. Build something basic and live there. Forego luxury living.
9. If you are married don’t fight over money. Hapana hapana. Put your heads together and think of survival tactics instead of fighting and accusing each other. Not everyone can sell things or be a vendor.
10. Be at peace! This is important. Stress levels will go up. They are already up! Don’t be a victim of things that are not in your control. Speak to others, pray with others and attend church even more. Hearing the word of God heals the broken hearted.
How do you plan on surviving the bond note economy?