THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has ordered the priority list for foreign currency payments to be applied with immediate effect to ensure that foreign currency resources are channelled to the productive sectors of the economy in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
BY 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,” said RBZ exchange control director Farai Masendu, in the new RBZ exchange control circular No.5 of 2020 to authorised 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 attached priority list for foreign currency payments shall apply with immediate effect to ensure that foreign currency resources are substantially channelled to the productive sectors of the economy in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Compliance with this requirement is critical to ensure that the economy responds positively to the enhancing of production in the country,” Masendu said.
Early this month, the central bank ordered all corporates receiving foreign currency, to deposit the money into their domestic nostro bank accounts top beef up its 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 on-site inspection after the lockdown period, it said.
The southern African nation 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.