The news of the moment definitely is that the Zimbabwean Dollar has made a come back of sorts. The come back goes like so: what we were told to call RTGS dollars in February this year, we are now told to call it Zimbabwean Dollar. The real change is that this ‘Zimbabwean Dollar’ is now declared to be the sole legal tender in Zimbabwe effectively moving from the multicurrency regime of the past 10 years.
So is it against the law to hold the USD?
Well, the answer to that is no. The authorities are still encouraging you to open the so called nostro accounts to keep any forex you have. I do not hesitate to advise you against such. The flip flop in something as basic as the name of the currency itself should tell all of us not to trust the said authorities.
Legal tender simply defined: Coins or banknotes that must be accepted if offered in payment of a debt.
The ‘new’ Zim dollar being the sole legal tender means anyone selling goods and services in Zimbabwe is obligated to take your money when you come with the Zim dollar to make payment. This doesn’t mean that you can’t pay in USD if you so wish and the person selling is willing to accept the hard currency just like no one will arrest you for exchanging your goats for other goods and services directly.
This is of course a technicality that the government will not want explored because the whole objective of the regulation is to stop you and I from using any forex we may have to pay for stuff locally.
Whichever way the worst is that you can only keep USD as ‘storage’
Even if we are to interpret the new regulation in the most strict manner, the worst it can mean is that you can keep your USD but you can’t use them to buy stuff in Zimbabwe. Your hard currency will just be a store of value which you convert whenever you want to buy.
Will it work?
No it will not work, simple!