BY SILENCE MUGADZAWETA
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has privatised its gold refining business, ending a monopoly that has been enjoyed by Fidelity Printers and Refiners.
Fidelity controls Zimbabwe’s gold trade as well as the minting and printing of local currency.
In a statement, governor John Mangudya said the central bank’s board of directors agreed to a restructuring exercise that will see the bank disposing Tuli Coal and unbundling of Fidelity Printers and Refiners into two business entities.
The unbundling will see partial privatisation of the gold refining business allowing private players to be part of the decision-making process concerning the precious mineral.
“By being part of the decision making process on gold trading, it is expected that the gold producers’ compliance levels in the trading of gold will significantly increase,” the RBZ chief said.
The central bank’s coal mining unit, Tuli, full equity has also been disposed of to government.
“The Bank’s board of directors resolved to dispose of Tuli Coal (Private) Limited to government and to unbundle Fidelity Printers and Refiners (Private) Limited (FPR) into two entities, that is (i) gold refining and (ii) printing and minting,” Mangudya said.
The new structure will see RBZ retaining 40% of its shares in Fidelity Printers and Refiners while disposing of 60% to large-scale and small-scale gold producers.
“Accordingly, the RBZ shall retain 40% shareholding in Fidelity Printers and Refiners, and dispose of 60% shareholding to both the large-scale and the small-scale gold producers.
“Using a three-year average delivery of gold to FPR, the bank will offer 50% shareholding in the large-scale gold producers, 3% to major FPR gold buying agents and the balance of 7% to the small scale producers through their representative bodies,” Mangudya said.
Mangudya, however, said the central bank would retain its controlling stake in the printing and minting business for security reasons.