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Zimbabwe Said to Offer $103 Million of Bills to Repay Debt

March 26 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe’s government is offering $103 million of Treasury bills to help repay some of the central bank’s $1.35 billion debt and finance other government needs, an official at the regulator said.

The sale of the securities, which have maturities ranging from three to five years and carry a yield of 2 percent, began today, said the official who asked not to be identified because he isn’t authorized to speak to the media. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa confirmed that a bill sale is taking place, without providing further details.

“They have issued the tender,” Chinamasa told Bloomberg outside his office today in the capital, Harare. The bank official didn’t say when the offer would end.

The government announced in November that it planned to settle the central bank’s debt by offering Treasury bills. The bank owes $754.3 million to domestic creditors and $596 million to lenders outside Zimbabwe, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported.

In 2012, the central bank failed in its first auction of Treasury bills since the country abandoned its currency and adopted the dollar in a bid to curb surging inflation four years earlier. The central bank rejected all bids for the 91-day bills offered on Oct. 4, 2012, as well as two subsequent sales.

John Panonetsa Mangudya, the chief executive officer of CBZ Holdings Ltd., Zimbabwe’s biggest bank by assets, will take over as governor of the central bank on May 1. He replaces Gideon Gono, who announced his resignation in November after completing two five-year terms.

During Gono’s tenure, the central bank printed money to pay the government’s debts, fueling inflation to an estimated 500 billion percent, according to the International Monetary Fund.

To contact the reporter on this story: Godfrey Marawanyika in Harare at gmarawanyika@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net Paul Richardson, Vernon Wessels

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