Zimbabwe: MPs Grill RBZ Deputy Governor Over Cash Black Market

17 September 2019

MPs on Monday took Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) deputy governor Kupukile Mlambo to task over continued cash shortages on the formal market when groups of individuals are seen everyday trading in crispy bank notes on the black market.

Mlambo was giving oral evidence before parliament's Public Accounts Committee which is chaired by his former boss in one time Finance Minister Tendai Biti.

Committee members accused the central bank of fuelling inflation through sponsoring the cash black market.

Zanu PF Gutu East MP Berita Chikwama asked the top banker why the black market was always full of new bank notes when ordinary depositors spend long periods everyday queuing for cash within the country's banks.

Chikwama accused the central bank of failing to take control of the situation and "playing games with people's earnings".

"You are telling us that no money is being printed but people are being forced to buy money from the black market."

In his response, Mlambo distanced the central bank from any black market activities.

"We are not in the parallel market. We interact with the public through the commercial banks. We do not sell money to the public; we sell to commercial banks," he said.

Mlambo was further blamed for failing to supervise banks which are linked to the corrupt sale of cash.

Mlambo said the cash parallel market was "a reflection of shortages in the system or the wrong incentives that are in the system" adding that the situation was beyond the central bank's control.

"The only way to control such kind of market is when the Central Bank had foreign currency and control of it but as it is now, the RBZ is not in control of the foreign currency in the system. A lot of it is outside our powers," said Mlambo.

Biti accused the central bank of being "the epicenter of a creation of an expansionary monetary financing through a fictitious fiscal policy".

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