Inflation-wracked Zimbabwe issues 200-million dollar note
News Brief – December 8, 2008
Zimbabwe police beat up about 20 people protesting last Wednesday after they protested over their inability to withdraw money from their bank accounts.
Officers used batons to hit the protesters, members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) who had gathered for a protest march, an AFP correspondent at the scene reported.
The protests came as Zimbabwe’s authorities prepared to issue the first 100 and 200-million-dollar notes.
Zimbabwe has issued three new denominations of banknotes, including a one and two-hundred-million-dollar note, as Mugabe's beleaguered dominion struggles to cope with runaway inflation.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) said the release of the new notes followed a recent review of the limit on cash withdrawal.
The limit has been revised upwards to 50 million Zimbabwe dollars for individuals and 100 million for company account holders.
Before the recent increase, the withdrawal limit for individual account holders was 500,000 dollars while companies were allowed to withdraw one million dollars a day, it said.
The introduction of the new notes – one and two hundred million, 50 million and 10 million – comes after depositors have been waiting hours in long queues at banking halls and cash dispensers to withdraw.
Zimmbabwe's national bank governor Gideon Gono, whose five-year term has just been renewed, recently announced that he was working to ensure that workers had enough cash during the festive season.
The new move comes less than a month after the central bank introduced one million, 500,000 and 100,000 notes, to deal with the skyrocketing prices of basic goods.
The 100,000 banknote is worth only one US dollar on the widely-used parallel black market and is only half the amount needed to buy a loaf of bread.
Under White rule and despite sanctions the former Rhodesia was considered a regional breadbasket. Zimbabwe's economy has long since collapsed and there are now shortages of basic foodstuffs like sugar and cooking oil.
Last updated 10/12/2008