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Zimbabwe Banking System Struggles With Dual-Currency System

Cash shortages continue to be reported around Zimbabwe on Monday as banks struggled to reconfigure equipment to handle the new currency that the central bank started to distribute on Friday. Sources said the distribution of new bank notes in smaller denominations has been limited so far and that old notes remain in circulation in most locations.

Long queues formed outside banks in Harare, Bulawayo, Kwekwe and Gweru today, according to sources who said bank computers kept crashing after financial software updates although many banks remained open on Sunday to give staff time to adapt their systems.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono as saying cash shortages were the fault of banks, which he said had planned poorly and did not submit orders to his institution for the new currency in a timely manner.

Gono insisted the RBZ has enough notes to meet demand, but that the banks do not have sufficient liquidity to cover the volume of bank note withdrawals by customers.

Correspondent Netsai Mlilo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe traveled Monday from Harare to Bulawayo and checked on the situation in a number of cities where banks weren't finding it easy to do business simultaneously in large and small denomination currencies.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...