RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya has blamed the differences between the bank’s recorded export receipts and those of the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) on a time lag.
This comes after the central bank reported that over the nine months ended September 30, 2023, it recorded export receipts of US$3,6 billion, 9% lower than the comparable 2022 period.
However, according to ZimStat’s latest export results, during the same period, exports totalled approximately US$5,16 billion.
The difference between the RBZ and ZimStat’s figures amounts to about US$1,5 billion.
“ZimStat measures movement of goods through a CD1 form, the movement of goods through the border,” he told Standardbusiness.
“So, those figures of the RBZ and Zimstat are never the same at any given time. We measure what is in the bank, the export receipts that would have been paid.”
Currency or customs declaration form (CD1) specifies the value of exports, commissions and freight.
Mangudya gave an example of tobacco to say if US$100 000 of the cash crop was exported at any given time; ZimStat would record the value of that upon exiting the country.
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However, the governor said the bank will measure what is actually paid into the nostro accounts of the exporter.
Now, since the export of goods takes time to reach its destination and payment typically happens upon receipt of those exports, the funds will take time to be registered in the bank account.
Thus, using the previous example, if US$100 000 worth of tobacco is exported in June, the payment would probably reflect about three months. This is because once exports have been declared on the CD1 forms and shipments made; the exporters are required to repatriate the export earnings into Zimbabwe within 90 days.
Next, once the export proceeds get into the exporter’s bank account, the central bank records this figure as of that day, meaning, if the US$100 000 gets into the nostro account in the second half of the year. that payment is recorded as such.
The payment will not be included in the total exports during the first half, despite the goods having been exported in June.
“The value of exports that is shipped doesn’t come back to the bank on the same day. There is a timing difference. So, the receipts which are being received today from the banks are not the same money as the exports on the day they were shipped so there are bound to be discrepancies,” Mangudya said.
“In Zimbabwe, we provide a law to say that goods that leave the country are paid for within a 90-day period, export credit terms. So, it’s not delay, per se, but credit terms.”
He said the credit is provided because the goods would have been cleared at the border before the actual payment was received.
Mangudya said the discrepancy comes as there is a major difference between gold exports that the bank records versus what is recorded in the destination country.
For example, ZimStat recorded gold exports of US$1,61 billion in 2021 while the central bank recorded it as US$1,7 billion.
But, the Observatory of Economic Complexity, the world’s leading data visualisation tool for international trade data, reported that the United Arab Emirate, alone, imported US$3,5 billion worth of gold from Zimbabwe in 2021.
Mangudya told the paper the discrepancy was due to “smuggling, as the bank only records what is received at Fidelity Printers and Refiners.”
However, licenses to ship out gold and proof of origin from the intended destination are still required from an exporter which typically comes from the RBZ in the Zimbabwe case.