Martin Kadzere : Senior Business Reporter
BANKS can now process import payments for fuel and crude edible oil companies by equally matching cash deposits with cross border transfers, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has said. The interim measure, which some bankers said would go a long way in encouraging deposits, is meant to ensure uninterrupted availability of edible crude oil and fuel in the country.“In recognition of the need to ensure availability of fuel in Zimbabwe, which is critical and strategic to the economy, authorised dealers are hereby advised, with immediate effect, to process fuel payment transactions for cash depositing companies by matching as an interim measure, cash deposits with cross border transfers on a ratio of 1:1,” RBZ director (Exchange Control) Mr Morris Mpofu said in a note to banks.
In the same vein, authorised dealers are advised to apply the matching principle for manufacturers of cooking oil. Payments for importation of crude edible oil shall be matched by cash deposits by the manufacturing companies at the ratio of 1:1. To ensure compliance with the requirement for payments, the central bank said banks will be required to declare cash deposits made by fuel and crude edible oil importers.
The RBZ added that to ensure consistency in reporting, fuel and edible companies will also be required to declare all cash deposits with the Reserve Bank’s exchange control department.
The banks, however, will still be required to avail foreign currency to non-cash depositing fuel and cooking oil manufacturing companies in terms of existing Foreign Priority Guidelines that seek to promote efficient utilisation of foreign currency.
To promote efficient utilisation of foreign exchange and to re-orient import demand towards productive uses, the Reserve Bank and the Business Council, represented by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe came up with foreign exchange priority list to guide banks in the distribution of foreign currency.
Some of the companies that fall under the priority one category include exporters who import raw materials or machinery to aide them to produce and generate more exports, non-exporting importers of raw materials and machinery for local production (value addition) that directly substitute import of essential finished goods and importers of critical and strategic goods such as basic food stuffs and fuel.