Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya yesterday reiterated that companies and individuals can still withdraw their money held in foreign currency accounts, adding that NGOs can still pay their employees in forex.
Further, Dr Mangudya clarified that possession of forex in the pockets or in FCAs was also permissible but one would need to change the money into the Zimbabwe dollar to effect local purchases.
His remarks come on the back of a mainstream and social media frenzy suggesting that the RBZ had blocked cash withdrawals from FCAs, in tandem with the currency reforms announced on Monday and subsequently buttressed by the RBZ’s Exchange Control Division on Tuesday.
Yesterday, Dr Mangudya told Zimpapers’ radio station, Star FM, in a telephone interview from China that citizens and companies should ignore the “fake news” being peddled by uninformed people regards FCAs.
“The honest answer is that yes, nothing has changed on FCA accounts, people can still hold FCA accounts in Zimbabwe,” said Dr Mangudya.
He said those receiving forex from the Diaspora, “can still get their money in cash or they can get their money in the nostro accounts”.
“Those who are exporting can still continue exporting and can have their money in nostros . . . if you look at tobacco for example, 50 percent is paid in foreign currency and 50 percent is RTGS.
“And cotton, they are getting some money in foreign currency and part of the money in RTGS. For gold it’s the same, 55 percent is the foreign currency for FCA accounts and 45 percent is RTGS, which is your local currency.
“So, nothing has changed on foreign currency accounts; people can still withdraw money from their personal accounts, so as corporate accounts, NGOs they can still withdraw their cash, (and) NGOs can still even pay their employees in foreign currency.”
However, Dr Mangudya said what has only changed is that holders of FCAs, those paid in foreign currency or receiving funds from the Diaspora, are now required to change their money in banks and bureaux de change to get the Zimbabwe dollar for local purchases.
“. . . we are saying all those with foreign currency, if you want to pay for goods in shops, you need now to pay in local currency. It means that you need to exchange your own money, at your will, as you wish to buy goods from shops.
“You can go to bureaux de change, you can go to banks and change your money into local currency for the purpose of transacting in shops. So holding of foreign currency is permissible as was before, (but) buying of goods is in local currency,” said Dr Mangudya.
Dr Mangudya said using the local currency when buying in Zimbabwe was necessary to curb forex leakages.
“. . . let’s localise purchases in Zimbabwe. Why are we doing that? We are trying to minimise and to remove double dipping into foreign currency. I gave earlier on, an example of bread; everyone knows in Zimbabwe that we are importing wheat for the purposes of baking bread.
“Would it make sense for one to import the wheat at US$400 per tonne, (and) using 3 000 tonnes (of wheat) per month to make it US$12 million, and then you go and buy the same bread in shops in US dollars? That’s what we call double dipping of foreign currency,” he said.
Zimbabwe also imports crude oil used in the manufacture of cooking for about 11 months in a year and Dr Mangudya argues it would be wise to sell in local currency to conserve forex.
He implored citizens to stop propagating false messages on social media to bring stability on the market.