Blessings Chidakwa

In a move likely to send shock waves amongst artisanal miners, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe(RBZ) is no longer capable of issuing out hard cash and is now urging the miners to open bank accounts, so that they access their monies through this facility.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe which used to pay for all artisanal miners, gold deliveries, in cash made the stunning revelations last week at a stakeholders meeting in Midlands.

Chief inspector in the Exchange Control Department at RBZ Mr. O. C. Mawire speaking at the meeting encouraged artisanal miners to access their hard earned cash through the banking facility in order to ease the cash shortages.

Artisanal miners play an immense role in the economy as gold is always a saviour to the national budget as it contributes above US$1 billion in export earnings yearly at a time when the country is desperately yearning for foreign currency.

Early last year the bank gave assurances that it will pay for all gold deliveries in the United States dollars, despite the introduction of a local ‘bond note’ currency.

The currency which moved stoked fears of a return of the old currency, and the hyperinflation it has come to be identified with.

Last year, RBZ boss, Dr John Mangudya speaking to the press said gold miners are the “heroes of Zimbabwe’s economy”. He said mining is one of the pillars of the economy as it is one of the top earners of foreign currency in the country, alongside tobacco and other sectors.

“In 2016, gold and tobacco accounted for more than 60 percent of the country’s exports. It is against this background that we consider producers of gold and tobacco as well as all the earners of foreign currency as our heroes,” said Dr Mangudya.

“Mining is the pillar of the economy, without it there is no foreign currency,” he added.