Zimbabwe declares interim RTGS dollar its sole legal currency

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has declared its interim currency, the RTGS dollar, the country’s sole legal tender with effect from Monday, according to a government notice published on Monday.

“The British pound, United States dollar, South African rand Botswana pula and any other foreign currency whatsoever shall no longer be legal tender alongside the Zimbabwe dollar in any transactions in Zimbabwe,” the notice said.

The RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement) dollar was introduced by the government on Feb. 22 as the first step towards a new currency by year-end.

However, by last week it had plunged 60% against the U.S. dollar and some Zimbabweans complain that many goods and services are still priced in foreign currencies, mainly the dollar and the rand.

Zimbabwe adopted the U.S. dollar as its official currency in 2009, when most Zimbabweans had already ditched the hyperinflation-wrecked Zimbabwe Dollar.

Analysts fear the same situation repeating itself with the interim currency. In May year-on-year inflation soared to 75.86% and fuel prices have been climbing steadily, up more than 150% since the beginning of the year.

Reporting by Nelson Banya; Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; editing by John Stonestreet and Jon Boyle