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Airlines getting foreign currency

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is fulfilling its obligation to release money to airlines for remittances repatriation, but acute foreign currency shortages continue to slow the progress in clearing the backlog, the businessdigest has learnt.

By Melody Chikono

There has been constant engagement between airlines, International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the RBZ over repatriation of funds for airlines.

In November last year, central bank chief John Mangudya agreed to settle outstanding hard currency payments through a gradual payment arrangement after IATA raised a red flag over the issue.

International airlines have been caught up in a payments gridlock triggered by the foreign currency crisis, with estimates indicating that the figure grew from about US$30 million in March last year to around US$50 million in February this year due to persistence if foreign currency shortages.

Board of Airlines Representatives chairperson who is also South African Airways country manager Winnie Muchanyuka, said: “Nothing much has changed, but we have been getting allocations from RBZ; the country is still battling with foreign currency shortages.

“I wouldn’t say it’s enough, it’s not, but I must also say we are pleased because the central bank has been trying.

Yes there is still a significant backlog, but it’s not a figure I can reveal as the matter is with IATA,” she said.

Late last year, the RBZ secured a US$600 million facility from the African Export Import Bank to ease the foreign payments backlog.

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