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Cash Shortages Persist In Zimbabwe Despite Central Bank Measures

Cash shortages continue in most major Zimbabwean cities Tuesday despite the introduction by the Reserve Bank on Monday of new, higher-denomination notes, and the increase that it instituted in the maximum amount consumers can withdraw daily from bank accounts.

Sources said lines at banks in Harare, the capital, were so long women and children were fainting in the queue from exhaustion. But customers could withdraw funds up to the new maximum daily limit of Z$20,000, whereas in Mutare, on Zimbabwe's eastern border with Mozambique, many customers took away only Z$500 - half the previous maximum.

Consumers reached by VOA said the Z$10,000 and Z$20,000 notes issued Monday by the central bank in a bid to relieve chronic and worsening cash shortages were not in evidence at banks, but parallel market sources said street dealers had sacks of the notes.

Sources reported numerous disputes arising when police officers and soldiers were allowed to jump the queues. Police were said to have intervened in Mutare when the crowd at the Agribank branch became restive. Long lines were also reported in Bulawayo.

Chitungwiza resident and informal trader Noel Chitawana told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the situation has become unbearable because he now spends most of his time queuing for money, accomplishing nothing else.

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