RBZ issues forex priority directive

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has ordered that a priority list for foreign currency payments be applied with immediate effect to ensure that forex resources are channeled to the productive sectors of the economy in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MTHANDAZO NYONI

“Reference is made to various economic measures implemented by the bank to sustain company operations and ensure quick resuscitation of economic activity during and post the COVID-19 pandemic,” RBZ exchange control director, Farai Masendu, said in the new RBZ Exchange Control Circular No.5 of 2020 to Authorized Dealers and Bureaux de Change.

“Accordingly, and consistent with Exchange Control Circular No. 3 of 2020, Authorised Dealers and Bureaux de Change are advised that the Priority List for Foreign Currency Payments shall apply with immediate effect to ensure that foreign currency resources are substantially channeled to the productive sectors of the economy in light of the COVID-19pandemic.

“Compliance with this requirement is critical to ensure that the economy responds positively to the enhancement of production in the country.”
Early this month, the central bank ordered all corporations receiving foreign currency to deposit the money into their domestic nostro bank accounts to beef up the country’s s forex reserves.

It also suspended the 30-day liquidation requirement on unutilised foreign currency balances for exporters until further notice.

All payments processed during the ongoing lockdown shall continue to be reported to the computerised exchange control batch application system and all supporting documentation should be filed separately for onsite inspection after the lockdown period, it said.

Zimbabwe is struggling to keep forex reserves afloat despite establishing the interbank market in February last year to allow for official trading in foreign currency.

In 2016, the RBZ and the business sector instituted a Foreign Exchange Priority List which was meant to promote efficient utilisation of foreign exchange and to re-orient import demand towards productive uses and guide banks in the distribution of foreign currency towards competing demands.

The priority list is a guideline in the execution of all foreign payments for all authorised forex dealers in Zimbabwe.

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