THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has moved closer to clinching a petroleum products importation deal with South Africa’s Rand Merchant Bank (RMB).
RBZ governor Gideon Gono is expected back home today from South Africa where he had gone for further consultations and negotiations with RMB officials in the last two days.
Gono’s visit follows that of RMB officials who were in Harare last week to pursue the deal.
The value of the facility has not been disclosed but it is believed to be worth several millions of dollars.
RMB spokesperson Jozanne Oosthuizen confirmed to businessdigest that the RBZ had approached the RMB for the fuel importation facility.
“We confirm that we were approached to look into the possibility of helping the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to finance the importation of fuel (petrol) for that country. No further details are available at this stage,” Oosthuizen said.
“Zimbabwe is a major trading partner of South Africa, and cross-border financing of this kind takes place on a regular basis in a wide variety of product areas, from maize to railway equipment,” Oosthuizen added.
The fuel facility, if it goes according to plan, is expected to improve fuel supplies to Harare which is battling under a five-year fuel crisis.
Such fuel facilities have in the past collapsed as Zimbabwe failed to service its debts.
As at the end of last year, the Zimbabwe government through the state-owned National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, owed a total US$171 million to Libyan, Iranian and South African oil firms.