Import bill tops US$2,77bn In a statement, the RBZ said Avis Bank Limited had been granted a merchant banking licence, but had failed to start operations.

Business Reporter

Zimbabwe imported goods worth US$2,77 billion in the six months to June 2021, which reflects a 17,6 percent increase on the external sector payments conducted by the country over the same period last year.

The bulk of the imports during the half year period to June 2021 entailed the procurement of critical raw materials, machinery and equipment as well as consumables required by the country’s industrial sector.

Figures from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) show that the payments were made from foreign currency accounts (FCAs) (US$1,66 billion), the interbank market (US$201,5 million) and the auction (US$917 million).

While figures on Zimbabwe’s exports during the same period were not immediately available, figures from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) show that exports totalled US$1,53 billion in the four months to April 2021.

In a statement this week on foreign currency disbursements under the auction system, RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya said the bank was encouraged that 69,3 percent of the external sector payments up to June 2021 went towards key imports.

“These allotments have been critical in spurring industrial developments and the sustainable growth of the economy. Funding of foreign exchange requirements from the foreign exchange auction system has also been a key factor in the SME sector,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s SMEs sector, comprising 2 443 companies received US$138 million through the country’s auction system, but the bigger chunk of US$1,4 billion went to bigger entities.

The central bank said in 2020, Zimbabwe imported goods worth US$4,793 billion paid through FCAs (US$3,7 billion), interbank (US$444 million) and auction system (US$627 million).

Zimbabwe’s auction system has been instrumental as the preferred platform for the distribution of foreign currency in the country, absence of which caused acute shortage and exchange rate volatility.

The country’s inflation has trended down from a post dollarisation high of 837 percent in July last year to as low as 106,6 percent by June this year, reflecting largely the efficacy of the auction system and exchange rate stability.

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