The Zimbabwean government has imposed a new 1% charge on all outbound foreign currency payments in an effort to stem pressure on the local currency, according to statutory instruments issued by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Under the new regulations, announced yesterday, all banks and mobile money transfer agencies will be required to collect the 1% charge when facilitating payments to individuals or entities outside of Zimbabwe. The charge applies to funds obtained from the central bank’s weekly foreign currency auctions as well as banks’ interbank system.
The charges will go into a special Debt Redemption Sinking Fund to help pay off Zimbabwe’s foreign obligations, which are putting strain on the RTGS dollar.
The regulations stipulate that the 1% charge will be collected on outbound payments of at least $5, up to a maximum of $50,000, after which the full maximum charge is collected.
Failure by banks to collect and remit the charges to the sinking fund within 10 days will result in penalties. Severe delays in complying could lead to a fine equal to the full unpaid charges, and could even make bank directors liable for jail time.
President Mnangagwa’s government says the charge is necessary to mitigate the substantial pressure outbound payments are putting on the local currency, which is pegged to international units that Zimbabweans are using to send money abroad.
The development comes as the government seeks to stabilize the exchange rate and support the value of the Zimbabwe dollar.