BY TAFADZWA MHLANGA
GOVERNMENT is seeking to raise another $300 million through Treasury Bills (TBs) to finance its programmes, a month after issuing a sovereign paper with the same amount.
In a statement yesterday, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) invited financial institutions to subscribe to TBs with half-year maturity tenure.
“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, on behalf of the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe, hereby invites commercial banks, building societies, People’s Own Savings Bank and Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe to subscribe to government Treasury Bills tender amounting to three hundred million dollars ($300 000 000),” the central bank said.
Applications must be for a minimum amount of $1m, with the number of bids per investor restricted to two.
The offer will open today.
Last month, the central bank issued another $300m TBs to finance numerous activities, but the auction was poorly subscribed.
This followed two auctions carried out in August, which were oversubscribed. The first and second TBs auctions raised $30m and $60m, respectively.
Previous auctions had been held in secrecy, with government recently introducing open market borrowing to improve transparency on its domestic debt.
Recently, RBZ governor John Mangudya refused to take responsibility for the US$3,2 billion TBs that were unlawfully issued from 2017 to 2018 mostly for the Command Agriculture programme, shifting the blame on the then Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa.
Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee interrogated Mangudya over controversial TBs issued without the House’s approval, causing massive inflation which is currently affecting the country.
The resumption of the public TBs auction has also brought questions on Treasury’s capacity to generate revenue through taxes.
The country’s economy is set to contract this year due to reduced output in agriculture, unreliable power supply, combined with inflationary pressures, foreign currency shortages and restricted external financial support.
According to Treasury, the stock of outstanding TBs as at June 2018 amounts to US$6,7 billion, with a maturity value of around US$8,3 billion.