Unavailability of smaller denominations of United States dollars has created an opportunity for illegal money changers and some vendors to sell notes at a premium. It is evident that smaller businesses for example kiosks and others especially in communities are losing customers as they do not have enough change of these smaller USD denominations.

A lot of small businesses in the informal sector prefer doing business in US dollars and the demand for smaller denominations is overwhelming their supply in Zimbabwe. Most of the illegal Money Changers are charging 10 percent, meaning that if one wants a US$100 note split into US$1, US$2, and US$5 notes, a fee of US$10 is paid.

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Some are also making a k_lling collecting worn-out notes before exchanging them in banks. For example, if one brings a torn US$10 note, the vendors accept the money and pay the person US$7. The vendors, using their connections at the banks and other financial institutions, will then get full value. Some vendors, at times, just mend the torn notes using glue or other adhesives.

The change problem has been worsened by those who do not accept change in local currency after paying for goods and services in US dollars. A survey carried recently has shown that many people pay up to US$10 for them to get change for a US$100 note.

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A visit to illegal money trading points at Copacabana, Market Square, and Roadport in Harare to ask for change revealed that the dealers were demanding up to 10 percent. At Market Square, this reporter produced US$20 and one of the money changers demanded to be paid $200 for splitting the note.

Many small businesses are hoping the government can intervene concerning this US Dollar change crisis. Most people in the country are surviving employed in the informal sector.

Source: Zimbabwe Voice

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