$200 million bills of entry unaccounted for: RBZ

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says $5,6 billion in outstanding bills of entry has been acquitted by importers, but $200 million was still unaccounted for since the granting of the amnesty last year.

BUSINESS REPORTER

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An importer’s bill of entry is a declaration of the exact nature, quantity and value of goods that have landed.

In September last year, RBZ gave absolute amnesty on all import bills of entry not acquitted prior to December 31 2013. It gave importers a 90-day amnesty to acquit their bills of entry after it emerged that close to $5,8 billion was yet to be acquitted covering the period 2009 to end of December 2013.

RBZ said it was trading amnesty for compliance, adding that it would adopt a zero tolerance on export and import documentation requirements.

In a latest update, RBZ said the policy measure had achieved its intended objective allowing importers to start on a clean slate.

“The policy achieved its intended objective since banks were granted the authority to acquit all outstanding advance payments covering the period 2009 to end of December 2013. To date, $5,6 billion has been cleared under the amnesty,” RBZ said.

In the period January to June, imports raced by 2,3% to $3,06 billion from $2,99 billion in the comparable period in 2014.

As a measure to enforce importers to acquit their bills of entry, RBZ placed a penalty fee of 1% on the total unacquitted payments with effect from January.

It said the penalty was necessary as some businesses lacked seriousness in the use and accounting for financial resources. It said the wanton abuse of systems and procedures was poor corporate governance which should be avoided.

In January, RBZ governor John Mangudya said exchange control would carry out random ex-post physical on-site import validation of imports to verify whether the country received true and fair value from its national resources in addition to off-site validations.

As a measure to enforce importers to acquit their bills of entry, RBZ placed a penalty fee of 1% on the total unacquitted payments with effect from January.

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