Harare - Zimbabweans finally got access to new low-denomination currency on Tuesday that authorities hope will end chronic cash shortages, but banks maintained an existing weekly withdrawal limit of $20, frustrating many customers.
The new 2 and 5 Zimbabwe dollar notes and coins were scheduled to start circulating on Monday but failed to appear on time, causing confusion at banks.
Shortages of cash, foreign currency, fuel and power are the most visible signs of the southern African nation's worst economic crisis since 2008, when hyperinflation forced the government to ditch its currency.
Hundreds of people, mostly pensioners, queued for cash outside one bank in central Harare on Tuesday and were issued 150 Zimbabwe dollars ($10) of the new 2-dollar bills and coins. They were told to return on Thursday if they wanted more.
"I managed to withdraw 150 dollars but it is not enough to buy anything. The banks should do something about the limit, maybe increase it to 1 000," John Kamuzunga, a 72-year-old pensioner, told Reuters after collecting his cash.