UPDATE 2-AB Inbev's Zimbabwe unit scraps hard currency payment plan after govt opposition
Delta Beverages announced on Wednesday that it would only take payments in U.S. currency and would no longer accept electronic dollars known as "Zollars", or a quasi-currency known as "bond notes", amid a severe shortage of hard currency in Zimbabwe.
However, the country's commerce minister said on Thursday that the government opposed the plan and Delta, 40 percent-owned by Anheuser-Busch Inbev, scrapped the plan following a meeting with senior politicians and reserve bank officials.
"Delta withdraws the notice to sell its products exclusively in hard currency, in the spirit of the multi-currency framework," Delta and Zimbabwe's reserve bank said in a joint statement late on Thursday.
In a separate statement on Friday, Delta said shortages of its products, particularly soft drinks, would persist while the arrangement gets underway.
Zimbabwe abandoned its currency in 2009, adopting the U.S. dollar in an effort to tame hyperinflation, but a severe shortage of physical notes has seen dollars in bank accounts lose value compared with cash.
Companies such as Delta have been left struggling because they have to spend U.S. dollars overseas, but their takings consist of Zollars or 'bond notes', which are worth far less.
Zimbabwe began issuing 'bond notes' in late-2016 in an effort to ease the worsening cash crunch. The quasi-currency was supposed to trade in parity with the U.S. dollar but it wasn't long before it devalued sharply on the street.
That spooked investors and Zimbabweans panicked amid acute shortages of fuel and basic goods, piling pressure on Mnangagwa as he attempts to rebrand Zimbabwe after decades of international isolation under Mugabe. (Reporting by Alfonce Mbizwo; Writing by Joe Brock, Editing by Susan Fenton and Louise Heavens)
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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