Standard Chartered Bank customers woke up to the news that the bank had cancelled the use of VISA cards outside the country. The move comes in the wake of increasing foreign currency shortages and nostro accounts that are fast drying up. In a press statement released by the bank, they announced that special consideration will be given to clients who apply for it 72 hours or more prior to travel. Consideration will be given to clients whose expenses fall within the Reserve Bank”s Priority List. The travelling clients will have to provide proof of expected expenses to the bank to qualify for this special consideration. The bank’s VISA cards will still be functional within the country.
The reserve bank also released the $5 bond note into circulation. The notes released have a total worth of $15 million which brings the total value of bond notes in circulation to $88 million. As more bond notes are introduced ino circulation, there seems to be less and less of the US dollar left. With banks like Standard Chartered having now blocked the use of VISA cards outside Zimbabwe, the country is clearly in dire straits concerning foreign currency. There have also been reports of drug shortages and drug price increase in the health sector. This has also been attributed to the shortage of foreign currency which is needed to import the drugs. Bond notes were introduced as an incentive under the export-import initiative with over $30 million having been reportedly paid to various sectors as this incentive.