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Zimbabwe Central Bank Unveils $50,000 Bill as Inflation Surges


The Zimbabwe central bank has released a $50,000 Zimbabwe bill and raised the daily withdrawal limit to that figure. But as Tendai Maphosa reports from Harare, this is far from enough for Zimbabweans to meet their daily needs.

A few weeks ago Zimbabwe's central bank lopped 10 zeros off the currency so shoppers would not have to carry large sums of money to make simple purchases. But only two weeks after the introduction of a Z$20,000 bill, inflation has again forced the central bank to increase the daily withdrawal limit.

The introduction of the new bill on Monday coincided with the raising of the daily withdrawal limit for individuals from Z$20,000 to Z$50,000. But the lines of people wanting to withdraw their money are as long as ever outside Zimbabwe's banks. Also, some banks had not received the new bills by close of business Monday.

Announcing the higher limit, central bank governor Gideon Gono said he wanted to make life easier for Zimbabweans before the holiday season. But people VOA spoke to all said this early Christmas gift is far from enough to cover their daily needs, let alone their holiday spending.

1st MAN: "If you look at the transport costs, they are actually close to the 50,000, and to us parents with kids who go to school, it is not enough."

WOMAN: "You can only buy two loaves of bread and we do not have the Z$50,000 in the banks. In this hyper-inflationary environment today you can buy something for Z$50,000, that same thing is like Z$300,000 the next day."

2nd MAN: "Daily limit I think [it should be] 200 and above with the rate we are going considering he raised it from 500 to a 1,000 to 20,000, but it was blown within two weeks, so this 50,000 is already blown up. So he will continue on printing and printing, but the amounts that he is printing are too small than the inflation jump."

Last week, Zimbabwe, which has the world's highest inflation rate, announced that inflation now officially stands at 231 million percent. The Zimbabweans VOA spoke to agreed that unless there is a political solution to the country's problems, they will all be the world's poorest billionaires by Christmas.

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