THE central bank has set up a foreign exchange management committee to consult with the banking sector to review bank import receipts and discuss ways to limit those imports to just the essentials.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
The new committee will meet on a weekly basis with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), as it moves to aggressively improve on exports and liquidity in the economy.
Speaking at an Industry and Commerce ministry breakfast meeting on the Import Management and Local Industry Support Measures on Friday in Harare, RBZ deputy governor Kupukile Mlambo said the new monetary measures were to tackle the cash shortages and close the externalisation of funds.
“We announced new monetary measures and these measures were designed to tackle the main challenges. The first challenge was the cash shortage and with that one we did three things. Firstly, impose withdrawal limits on the automated teller machines, secondly, we tried to close the externalisation of cash in this country and finally we tried to de-concentrate the focus on the United States dollar,” Mlambo said.
“We have set up a foreign exchange management committee that is going to meet every week, a meeting between the reserve bank and the bankers to see how they are financing the imports. We want to make sure that we allow most essential imports for the time being.”
The consultations between the central bank and bankers come after transactions in United States dollars have risen to an all-time high of 98% in Zimbabwe.
This has led to a strain on the United States dollar usage and created a demand that could not be met, leading to the economy’s on-going cash shortage. As a result, RBZ has introduced a host of measures, namely, a 5% incentive to exporters export revenue, bond notes to supply hard cash onto the market, and limit daily withdrawals to a maximum $300.
The incentives and bond notes will be backed by a $200 million African Export-Import Bank backed facility.
RBZ’s strategy is to incentivise exporters to increase exports and limit imports as much as possible.