, HARARE, Aug 7 – Zimbabwe’s central bank chief has ruled out an immediate return of the local currency after elections last week that extended President Robert Mugabe’s 33-year rule.
“There are no plans whatsoever within and outside the bank for the immediate or near-term introduction of a new currency or return of the Zimbabwean currency by whatever name,” Gideon Gono said in a statement late on Tuesday.
In 2009, the country dumped its hyper-inflation ravaged Zimbabwean dollar for the US dollar and other regional currencies.
The country’s decade-long downturn marked by galloping inflation which at one point peaked at 231 million percent has since stabilised at 2.8 percent, according to latest figures.
Gono’s statement followed rife speculation among depositors about the immediate reintroduction of the Zim dollar, after Mugabe’s re-election last week.
He said Zimbabwe’s economic problems were not yet over and the country could not afford an immediate switch to the local currency.
At the launch of his party’s election campaign, Mugabe said the return of the Zimbabwean dollar would be “cautious and gradual.”
Zimbabwe’s battered economy stabilised when rivals Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai formed the unity government in 2009.
While the economy is growing — at five percent last year — public finances remain in disarray, but most people still live in poverty,