Exporters bitter over Gono’s U-turn on forex

Pindai Dube



A CONFEDERATION of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) board member has accused Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono of expropriating foreign currency procee

ds from exporters despite assurances that there would be no forced liquidation of foreign currency accounts (FCAs).


CZI national executive board member Julie Bonet told businessdigest the industrial board was disappointed by Gono’s latest directive demanding 7,5% of exporters’ receipts stashed in FCAs.


In his mid-year monetary policy review, Gono said exporters and gold producers could retain 70% of their foreign currency proceeds in FCAs indefinitely, rather than for 30 days under ruling currency retention regulations then under which they were obliged to liquidate any unused balance into the interbank market.


Gono had said the measures, aimed at bringing normalcy to the country’s operating environment, would enable “all exporters, including horticulture and gold producers…to keep their FCA balances indefinitely without fear of forced liquidation by either the central bank or authorised dealers”.


“Our main disappointment was the governor’s recent appropriation of 7,5% from exporters. This is another clear indication of continued shifting of goal posts,” said Bonet.


Bonet said the new measures, part of Gono’s mini policy adjustment two weeks ago, had resulted in severe foreign currency procurement problems for industry in the import of raw materials.


“Whilst we appreciate the dilemma governor Gono and government find themselves in, we however find it increasingly difficult to maintain a steady forecast that enables the purchase of raw materials and inputs required for both local and export markets,” said Bonet, adding: “We are told the 7,5% is for fuel and energy, but where is the infrastructure to enable exporters to access government-procured fuel?”


In his mini policy review, Gono said the country’s energy sector required redress to support productive activities and proposed the establishment of an Energy Sector Stablisation Fund which would receive its proceeds from exports.


Gono said he would direct 10% of all exports towards that fund.


“Because of the absolute necessity to guarantee electricity and fuel availability, we should ensure that the country had adequate fuel and power,” Gono said.


Zimbabwe is currently going through its worst crisis in history characterised by acute foreign currency and fuel shortages that have disrupted the normal functioning of the economy and stocked inflation to record high rates.


Gono said in his mini policy review that fuel remained “inadequate for everyone, particularly for leisure requirements, though there is enough for critical elements of the economy such as agriculture”.


Many motorists have been grounded due to the acute fuel shortages. Parking of vehicles for weeks in long queues at fuel stations in anticipation of fuel deliveries has become a common feature in the country.