Exporters pocket higher rates

Chris Goko

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says exporters, mainly horticultural players, who have been quick to liquidate their export proceeds have been getting rates way higher than both the official $5

650:US$1 and implied $6 200 rate, it was learnt this week.


Information at hand shows that exporters, managing to repatriate their foreign currency within the 30-day threshold, have been getting a rate of $7 130 to one greenback.


This is more than $1 000 above the central bank’s bi-weekly auctions and diaspora rate.


In a November 23 paper, Impact Of The Current Exchange Rate System On Exporters, the bank’s economic research division said nearly 70% of exporters — managing to deliver scarce foreign currency in the shortest possible time — have been getting rates on their 100% proceeds at above the $6 200 peg.


Whereas exporters were getting a paltry $824 to the United States dollar before January 12 this year, they now enjoy a depreciated rate and value of more than 80%, the paper said.


“Compared to the levels that prevailed at the beginning of 2004, the surrender requirement at Z$824/US$ has fallen from 25% to 10% for all export proceeds repatriated within 31-90 days from date of shipment.


“At least 90% of exporters access 90 to 100% of their export proceeds at the ruling auction or Diaspora rate whichever is higher,” it said, adding the export incentive scheme was markedly enhanced in April, July and November.


A number of exporters have negotiated their payment terms from 90 days to receiving advance payments — from mainly international debtors — within the 30-day period, meaning those who have been promptly ceding their money in Zimbabwe are not subject to the measly $824 rate, but higher blended rates.


“Where an exporter accesses the 15% FOB (free on board) export incentive scheme for every US$1 of exports, the exporter is entitled to a rebate, which effectively increases the US dollar value of his exports at a higher blended exchange rate of Z$7 130/US$1 if the proceeds are received within 30 days,” said the RBZ.


It said that the proportion of exporters benefiting from this arrangement rose from 26% in January to nearly 80% by last month.


The analysis also shows that those managing to bring in money within the 31 to 90 day period — through the acquittal of CD1 forms — have been earning $6 511,76 for their dollar and a 90% auction-sale allocation.


While those in the 91 to 100-day bracket receive $2 more than the implied rate, they cede 85% to the mandatory auctions.


Exporters liquidating their money after 100-plus days, but below 120, are compelled to surrender 80% of their proceeds at an effective rate of $5 893,52 to the greenback — still markedly higher than the auction rate.


The exporters, who include gold producers, in January retained 50% of their foreign exchange earnings in foreign currency accounts (FCAs), while 25% was availed on the auction mechanism at the ruling rate of $3 500 to the US dollar then.


Observers this week said the central bank’s “carrot and stick” measures, which it says have greatly discouraged illegal dealing in foreign currency, improved foreign exchange inflows and formalised the key exchange market, are tantamount to devaluation.


The bank prefers to call the blended rate arrangement a “fair value” incentive for exporters’ survival and competitiveness internationally.

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