RESERVE Bank governor, Gideon Gono, last week assured diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe that there would be no policy shift on the newly-introduced floating exchange rate.
The diplomats had earlier quizzed the central bank boss on issues pertaining to the 99-year land leases whose final audit, Gono said, was almost complete.
Gono pleaded with the diplomats to take seriously positive developments taking place in the country.
He said floating the exchange rate was meant to help exporters from whom the country earns its foreign currency.
“We will not influence the interbank rate, we will let market forces deal with one another as this will also reduce the work of the governor and his office. We have allowed the banking sector to determine the exchange rate,” Gono said.
“This time exporters will be cursing the market, not the government or the RBZ.”
British ambassador, Dr Rod Pullen, asked Gono on progress made on resolving the land issue.
“We welcome your reference that there be law and order on the farms,” said Pullen. “However, our greatest concern is in relation to the issue of title deeds and 99-year leases,” Pullen said.
Gono said an audit currently underway would be completed in the next two weeks.
“Our determination is to see every piece of land being utilised,” Gono said.
“We are not tolerating nonsense in the agricultural sector. Land issues and reform have always been emotive issues but since we were pioneers in this thing, we always learn from our mistakes and make the necessary corrections.”
He said the Minister of Land in the President’s Office, Flora Bhuka, had announced in Gweru a fortnight ago that once the audit exercise was complete, there would be room for fresh farm occupations.
A number of international bilateral trade agreements were violated during the emotive land reform programme, but government has promised to honour all pacts.
The government has since come up with an investment policy draft which makes an undertaking to protect and encourage inward investment as a tool to attract international capital.
Leani Cuelenaere, deputy head of mission at the Royal Netherlands embassy, also expressed apprehension about land leases.
“But how can I assure investors from my country and my government about the security of leases when recently there was this amendment to the constitution?” Cuelenaere asked.
“How can I assure them that the 99-year leases are secure? As you might know, the issue of tenure in my country is one of our major concerns. ”
Gono said: “What I want to assure you is that the 99-year leases are as good and secure. We are conscious of what has to be done and that is why this audit is being carried out.”
Friday’s meeting was attended by the European Union, African and Asian diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce also attended the meeting.
The CZI was represented by its president, Pattison Sithole, while Luxon Zembe represented the ZNCC also as president.
Peter Phiri, of the Zambian High Commission, wanted to know if bureaux de changes would return to which . Gono replied: “The financial sector in Zimbabwe is evolving.”
“Yesteryear we were not accepting that banks be active on the interbank market, but yesterday we announced something new. We have not had a rethink on the issue of bureaux de changes,” he said.
Government shut down bureaux de changes at the height of foreign currency blues in 2000, accusing them of fuelling black market activities.
They have largely been replaced by money transfer agencies introduced last year.
Japanese Ambassador, Tsuneshige Liyama, welcomed the introduction of the interbank rate.