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Zimbabweans Scramble to Use, Replace Old Currency


Consumers in Zimbabwe are scrambling to use or exchange their old banknotes before the currency becomes obsolete at the close of business, Monday.

Grocery stores and banks around the country have been jammed, although some shop owners are refusing to accept the outgoing currency.

Zimbabwe is introducing new banknotes and slashing three zeroes off all denominations in a bid to deal with inflation hovering around one-thousand percent.

The government has imposed limits on how much cash individuals can exchange without explaining its source, in a bid to catch people who hoarded money outside the formal banking system.

State media Monday quoted central bank governor Gideon Gono as saying there will be no extension to the changeover. But, Gono added that the bank reserved the right to act in what he called exceptional cases.

Along with inflation, Zimbabwe is suffering economic problems that include shortages of food, fuel, and foreign currency and an unemployment rate of over 70 percent.

The country's main opposition group has threatened to mount street protests against the government of President Robert Mugabe but the protests have not materialized.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
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