The country’s bond coins which were once shunned by both buyers and traders seem to now have become acceptable form of loose change on the local market.
During their introduction late last year, both coins were viewed with such mistrust that some buyers would prefer to be given sweets as change from their purchases instead of the bond coins. On the other hand, some formal and informal traders on the streets would discontinue using bond coins in favour of South African Rand coins due to mistrust in the local currency.
However, it seems bond coins have now become a favoured form of change as the Rand coins are now being calculated using a different rate than before. In the past, $1 was equal to R10 but, this seems to be changing as $1 is now equal to R12.
One vendor who operates along Sam Nujoma Avenue in Harare said that bond coins were now on “demand” because some wholesalers were now calculating Rand coins against the USD according to the prevailing market value.
“Right now R5 is no longer equivalent to 50cents, we are now asking for R6. This is due to the fact that most wholesalers where we buy our merchandise are now calculating Rand coins according to the prevailing rate of $1 to R12,” said Moyo.
Customers are now being asked to pay R6 for ice cream which used to be sold for R5. One ice-cream vendor in Chitungwiza who refused to be named said that they were now charging R6 for ice cream since the company was no longer accepting Rand coins.
“We are now charging R6 for ice cream because the company is no longer accepting Rand coins and we cannot afford to reject the Rand coins from customers because they are the ones in circulation. So ice cream vendors have to convert all Rand coins to USD or bond coins at the end of the day,” explained the ice cream vendor.
However, some customers such as Cynthia Mberi (31) from Chitungwiza complained that customers were now being short changed as some traders are still regarding R10 equivalent to $1 which is widely used on the market.
“Sometimes you get R5 as change yet other traders are now requiring R6 for a thing worth $0.50. So I think it would be fair for all traders to use the same rate because the current situation is leaving customers at a disadvantage,” explained Mberi.
RBZ introduced bond coins in December last year to address the shortage of coins that had seen most prices being rounded off to the next dollar. The country’s bond coins are based on the US dollar which gives them same value with the US. Bond coins in circulation include 1cent, 5cents, 10cents, 25cents and the recently introduced 50cents.
Photo credit: www.source.co.zw