Author: Don Obrien

RBZ sets fortnight forex payments window

The Chronicle

Business Reporter
SIGNIFICANT headway is being made in clearing the backlog of foreign currency allotments and going forward all disbursements will be made within two weeks, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has said.

The Apex Bank has already started clearing the estimated US$200 million in outstanding bids at the Forex Auction Trading System.

The Treasury recently released US$70 million towards payments to bidders as part of efforts to restore confidence in the platform in response to an outcry by businesses who have raised concern over delays in disbursements.

Industrialists had warned that delays in forex allotments on the official platform were indirectly contributing to the rampant parallel market activity, which is blamed for distorting the pricing system and has a dampening impact on exporting businesses given high premiums it attracts.

The RBZ has said the remaining backlog, which is also attributable to malpractices by certain entities that were sponsoring multiple bids under the auction system, is substantially in respect of foreign exchange allotments to secondary users of forex under the main auction while allotments under the SMEs Auction were up to date.

“Going forward, all auction allotments will be paid within two weeks from the auction date,” said RBZ Governor, Dr John Mangudya.

“Thus, the main auction allotments for Auction 64 of Tuesday, 21 September 2021 will be fully paid by Monday, 4 October 2021.”

According to the Central Bank, more than 4 000 firms have received around US$1,7 billion at the main auction while US$233 million has been accessed at the SMEs auction.

RBZ said it has ring-fenced the auction allotments backlog, which it will continue to clear separately from existing allotments.

“In order to further tighten money supply in view of recent developments on inflation, the bank has introduced special exchange rate-linked corporate open market operations bills for purposes of directly dealing with the growth of money supply in the economy.

“These bills will be targeted at corporates with huge local currency balances or those receiving huge payments in local currency as some of these funds are being used to destabilise the foreign exchange market,” said the Central Bank.

The monetary authorities hope that this measure will support stability of the foreign exchange market in line with the resolutions of the Monetary Policy Committe (MPC).

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