RBZ disburses $836b to distressed firms


Godfrey Marawanyika

MORE than 500 borrowers have so far applied to access the Productive and Export Sector Support Facility from which the central bank has disbursed more than $800 billion.
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The latest development comes hard on the heels of the central banks black-listing of 200 firms and their bankers for failing to remit US$175 million for last year in export earnings.



The Productive and Export Sector Support Facility was introduced to help firms in distress.


The levy which was introduced in December but only became operational last month attracts a maximum of 30% interest and will apply to all productive and export sectors.


RBZ governor Gideon Gono on Tuesday confirmed that the money had been disbursed.


“A total of 523 borrowers have accessed the Productive and Export Sector Facility from January 1 to 23,” an RBZ spokesperson said. “A total of $444,4 billion was disbursed during the same period.”


The total amount is $836 billiion.


The fund is meant to help firms within the agriculture, mining, tourism, manufacturing, transport and communication and distribution construction sectors which have been classified within the positive list category.

On the productive sectors the money is available to procure industrial, agricultural material and professional equipment for doctors, dentists and engineers.


The money can also be used to purchase commercial, agricultural and industrial vehicles.


The negative list includes sectors that are not supposed to benefit from this scheme such as individuals and financial firms.


Some of the goods on the negative list include items such as aircraft, jewelry and works of art.


The fund cannot be used to access household goods such as furniture, electrical appliances, and passenger vehicles including motorcycles, office machinery, fittings, equipment and caravans.


During the monetary policy announcement Gono said the RBZ would pursue a dual interest rate policy which on one hand seeks to encourage economic growth while on the other fight inflation through discouraging speculative and consumptive borrowing.


He also announced that the central bank would fight inflation by allowing banks to charge higher and discouraging interest rates on the balance of funding the non-productive activities.


Last week the central bank published a list of 200 exporting firms which had not yet remitted money to the authorities.


The bank has threatened to report the firms to the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate and the police against the offending parties so as to prevent the continued leakages of foreign currency from the country.


It was not immediately clear how many firms had so far rectified the problems this week as authorities within the bank said they were still receiving feedback from the concerned parties.

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