Zimbabwe to retain multiple currencies: Minister

Harare, Sep 24 (IANS) Newly appointed Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Zimbabwe is to retain the multi-currency regime for the foreseeable future as part of measures to ensure financial stability, Xinhua reported.

Zimbabwe is using the US dollar, South African rand and Botswana pula, among other currencies in the market after the collapse of the Zimbabwean dollar during the 2008-2009 hyper-inflation.

Chinamasa was credited for introducing the multi-currency regime in his brief tenure as acting finance minister in the first few months of 2009.

Though leaders of the ruling party, no less than President Robert Mugabe, have repeatedly bemoaned the lack of the country's own currency, analysts say the government will not risk re-introducing the Zimbabwean dollar in which most Zimbabweans have lost their trust.

"In order to dispel any doubts on the market, I came back home to maintain the multi-currency regime," Chinamasa said. "It will be with us, it will remain with us for an indefinite period."

Zimbabwe's economy only started to pick up after the multi-currency regime was adopted and an inclusive government was formed in 2009, after almost a decade of decline, ruining a formerly prosperous country known as the "bread basket of Africa".

However, the growth has been slowed since 2011. The government predicts that the economy will expand by merely 3.4 percent this year.

Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party won resoundingly in the July 31 elections and the new cabinet has been focusing on reviving the ailing economy.