BELIEVE it or not, the parallel or Black Market cash spinning antics of 2008 have bounced back and this time with a bang louder than that of the Zim Dollar era.
Due to the prevailing cash crisis obtaining across the Zimbabwean economy, cash dealers have devised strategies of milking depositors of their hard earned cash they have to queue for at times for three or more days in week.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
In the deal which is somehow shoddy, dealers are charging 15 percent of whatever the depositor intends to withdraw from the bank and then get their (dealers) money through bank transfers. For example, say one wants to withdraw $100 in cash, they get $85 and then pays $100 into the dealer’s account.
A survey conducted by TechnoMag observed that a number of banks which include CABS, POSB where bank queues resemble a political rally on every day of the month have become major sources of these illicit activities.
It is also believed that these dealers have inside connections who give them the hard cash to do the deals.
“I think these dealers have relatives who work inside the bank that have the cash to give them,” said one of the depositor who was waiting in a long winding queue.
While undercover, this reporter was led to a secluded place to do the transaction by a dealer.
This desperation together with panic withdrawals have been largely driven by the fear of the impending arrival of bond notes in the not so distant future.
The cash crunch has intensified according to central bank Governor John Mangudya, forcing banks to limit withdrawals and shut down some ATMs.
The emergence of unscrupulous cash dealers comes after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) announced stringent measures including the capping of cash withdrawals without one-day prior notice to US$10 000, restrictions on offshore investment and suspending free funds to tackle illicit money flows and capital flight remittances after nearly US$2 billion evaporated from the capital-starved economy through externalisation last year.
The central bank this week said it was sensing a growing trend in third-party transactions through well-orchestrated schemes that ensure cash.
Some illegal foreign currency dealers in the usual spots like Harare’s Road Port are also part of a syndicate of the note dealers who get the US$50 and US$100 notes from businesses across town.
“When people want to travel, they buy the big notes because banks are giving smaller notes like the US$10 and US$20 notes which are now old. As such, the clean US$100 notes are selling big on the market,” one foreign currency dealer in Harare’s central business district said.
“We have people coming from South Africa to buy these notes also because South Africans want the US dollars because the rand is just weakening.”