Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau
The official United States dollar to bond notes exchange rate remains 1:1 and the public should use licensed financial agencies to conduct monetary exchange transactions, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has said. Central bank Governor Dr John Mangudya said yesterday that prevailing exchange rate distortions on the black market could be avoided if people dealt with registered financial institutions. So far, Dr Mangudya said, 45 financial institutions had been licensed to deal with exchange rates on financial markets.
“In order to ensure the orderly dealing in currency and for the convenience of the transacting public, the (RBZ) wishes to advise members of the public to transact in currency with or through licensed bureaux de change and money transfer agencies listed here under,” he said.
“The bank will continue to advise additional bureaux de change. The permissible currency exchange is as follows: 1 Bond Note: 1 United States Dollar. The exchange between the United States Dollar or Bond Note with other currencies shall be a fee spread of not more than 10 percent of the nominal value of either currency.”
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Among the listed financial institutions are banks, telecommunications companies like Econet Wireless and Telecel, and other micro finance institutions such as Nissi Global, Kwik Forex. Dr Mangudya expressed satisfaction with recent developments which have seen illegal money changers being arrested after Government gazetted a new law criminalising illegal forex trading.
“Following the promulgation of Exchange Control Amendment) regulations, 2017 Statutory Instrument 122a of 2017, a number of people have been arrested for offences related to dealing in currency without being licenced or through unauthorised persons,” he said. Dr Mangudya said the RBZ, working with the police, would descend on retailers who were rejecting other modes of payments except cash.
“It has come to the attention of the bank that certain retailers and traders of goods and services are refusing to accept modes of payment other than cash. The bank advises members of the public that such practices are undesirable and distort markets. Members of the public are, therefore, urged to report to the Zimbabwe Republic Police or bank, any such persons who refuse to accept other modes of payment, insisting on cash payments only. The necessary corrective action shall be taken against such malpractices.”
Last week, Government promulgated a new law to deal with money changers who were inflating US dollar and bond notes cross rates. The inflated cross rates caused panic, resulting in some people sending social media messages suggesting that the bond note had lost its value. This caused people to start panic buying of basic commodities, creating an artificial shortage of goods. The situation has since returned to normal with goods on the shelves, but some commodities are still priced higher than the normal prices.