Zambia hit with shortage of coins

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Members of Parliament yesterday took Finance Deputy Minister Keith Mukata to task to explain to the house why the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) did not consider printing one ngwee coins during the rebasing of the local currency.

Opposition Members of Parliament queried the deputy minister on whether government was considering reverting to the old one Kwacha note instead of using coins which the general public are discarding.

In response, Mr. Mukata told the house that the BoZ was still studying the concerns being raised by the public before it makes an official position.

And Sinda MMD, MP, Levy Ngoma asked the deputy minister if the ministry of finance was aware that Eastern province has run out of coins.

Mr. Ngoma complained that local people in Eastern province were facing challenges in changing money as the region was facing a shortage of coins.

In reply to the question, Mr. Mukata assured Sinda MP that the process of printing coins is ongoing adding that as more money was printed, coins will be squarely distributed to all parts of the country.

He admitted that most parts of the country have no coins.

Meanwhile, parliament heard yesterday that the central bank incurred a total cost of 13.93 million Euro to procure 285 million pieces of banknotes in the year 2010.

Mr. Mukata informed parliament that out of the 285 million pieces of banknotes, the Bank of Zambia only received 263.4 million pieces from the printers at a cost of 12.75 million Euro as of 30th April 2013.

Mr. Mukata disclosed this when answering a question raised by Kabompo West UPND MP Ambrose Lufuma who wanted to know how much money was spent on printing the rebased Kwacha currency.

He told the house that BoZ contracted a Sothern African based company called South African Mint Company to print 232 million coins for 2012 at a cost of US$3.81 million.

The house further learnt that in April 2013, 61,956,000 coins were delivered to BoZ at a cost of US$1.05 million.