Although the government insists that the bond note is trading at par with the American dollar, on the streets $100 is equivalent to 350 in bond notes as of Monday morning. As such, those wishing to pay off bills are having a field day.
“I bought a house via mortgage five years ago and I am left with something like $25,000 to finish. That amount today is an equivalent of $7,000, so I am trading hard currency on the streets to pay it off. It’s a bargain,” said Admire Tshuma, who works for a gold mine in Matabeleland South.
Real estate companies are now moving towards charging new clients in hard currency.
A cellphone dealer in Bulawayo said: “My lease expires next month and already I was told that I can only renew it if I commit to paying the same amount I was paying in hard currency. That’s a total rip-off!
"At least if they were to reduce it and peg it to the prevailing black-market rate, I would understand - but their argument is that officially the bond and US dollar are at par, yet they don’t want to see the bond note."
Local authorities have also started dangling forex incentives.
The Bulawayo City Council started implementing a 50% debt cancellation policy for those paying their bills in foreign currency, while all international organisations operating in the city are now required to pay for services in forex.