There is a proverbial statement that goes fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me, and it looks like we are not far from the later.
Did you know that all the incentives in USD that the government has offered civil servants is not actual USD, neither is this money RTGS, its actually called “RTGS Credit Advise”.
This payment does not have any Nostro backing , neither is it linked to any international nostro account for settlement, but banks must receive it as “USD” only to liquidate as RTGS hence this payments can never be liquidated as hard currency because it never was.
It then boggles the mind why then the creativity to have this payment as USD to civil servants, at the time government clearly knows they can only disburse as RTGS.
Civil servants could still accept an increment in known RTGS value, that’s all they are getting anyway without causing currency distortions.
While this is mind boggling for making such an appearance there is more to the technical flow of currency here.
The major question is which bank account holds this new currency which is only converted upon landing into someone’s account, how does the RBZ hold this currency, using which suspense account currency? As what value and should you be worried.
Once upon a time we opened up nostro bank accounts in Zimbabwe, there was enough forex currency and the nostro accounts were in balance, well managed and controlled directly by banks themselves, before a new currency called bond notes was introduced, this one like its cousin had a specific task, only to incentives farmers.
While this new currency came in as a surrogate currency with a specific task to incentivise the farmers, before we knew, we were all farmers and encouraged to use the currency as well as it was simply 1:1 against the dollar, besides the notes were easily accessible.
This form of currency is likely to return amidst huge demands by civil servant to earn a living wage.
This vague currency however poses a real threat to genuine nostro account balances, and it has to be dealt with now before we loose value of the hard currency saved and already in circulation.
The Reserve Bank has to be very clear that civil servants are getting RTGS cushioning allowance or they are getting actual USD backed with nostro account, lest we fall into another huge pit.
A repeat of 2019 currency exchange crisis must not happen , or allowed to silently cripple in again , only at the loss of our real monetary value.