AFTER many years of battling to find answers on government's position regarding Zimbabwe dollar balances held by banks, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on Wednesday 11 February 2015 finally solved the riddle so it appears.
Like all government pronouncements these days, not so good news came out of RBZ governor John Mangudya in his Monetary Policy Statement regarding people's hard-earned cash that has been locked up in banks since 2009.
According to his proposal, Zimbabweans shall only be paid a once-off paltry $5 from $20 million that government plans to set aside for the exercise of demonetisation.
"In line with the policy pronouncement made by the minister of Finance and Economic Development in both the 2014 Budget Statement and the Mid-Term Budget Statement, the Reserve Bank shall be demonetising the Z$ balances by 30 June 2015," he said.
"All genuine or normal bank accounts, other than loan accounts, as at 31 December 2008 would be paid an equal flat amount of $5 per account. The then prevailing United Nations (UN) exchange rate would be used to convert Z$ balances that were as a result of arbitrage opportunities "burning" and for Z$ cash to be received from the walk-in banking public."
The big question that comes to mind is who agreed to the use of the exchange rate that the RBZ has settled on and who determines what a genuine bank account is, considering everyone at the time was a billionaire?
In all fairness, the RBZ should have at least worked on a fair conversion rate of the account balances which results in no depositor being prejudiced, after all the collapse of the currency that rendered it worthless, was not of their making but a result of the same government that again wants to short change the depositor.
How fair is $5 to a pensioner who had his money tied up in unit trust or some financial instrument recommended by banks?
What happens to those with Z$ balances in collapsed banks?
Do they get their meagre payment also or are they expected to look the other way and remain silent like most Zimbabweans have now become accustomed to.
Most depositors might even notice the amount in their accounts considering the high bank charges levied by financial institutions these days.
With this as the outcome after years of lobbying by depositors, pensioners querying the disappearance of their funds held in insurance firms should not hold their breath despite governments calls for a probe into the matter, as more disappointment and anguish awaits them.