Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter
WEEKLY gold exports have increased by 33,3 percent to $16 million over the past four months largely driven by the 5 percent export incentive introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in May this year.
Speaking at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers SI 64 breakfast meeting yesterday, RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya said the impact of the policy measures introduced by the central bank has been impressive.
The RBZ established a $200 million foreign exchange and export incentive facility supported by the African Export-Import Bank, as part of policy measures to address challenges affecting the economy.
The initiative was also meant to resolve liquidity problems. The facility was aimed at providing a cushion to the high demand for foreign currency and to provide an incentive of up to five percent on foreign exchange receipts, including tobacco and gold export proceeds.
“The multiple currency system depends on the capacity of Zimbabwe to earn foreign currency. Because of the export incentive, which we introduced on May 5, 2016 we have seen gold exports going up to $15-$16 million every week and this is an increase from $12 million.
“Our aim is to reach $20 million worth of gold exports (weekly). By giving an (export) incentive of five percent, the artisanal miners are now selling gold to the RBZ through the Fidelity Refineries and Printers,” said Dr Mangudya.
“It is a fact that all the companies in Zimbabwe require this export incentive scheme so that they can expand. The intrinsic value of the export bonus or incentive scheme is to attract and enhance exports by Zimbabweans so that at the end of the day there is enough foreign currency in this country,” he said.
Dr Mangudya also said the use of point of sale machines and other electronic payment systems has increased since January this year, demonstrating how far the market has embraced the use of plastic money. POS, and other electronic payment systems have gone up to $5,5 billion as at end of July 2016 from $4,1 billion in January.
Dr Mangudya said that the number of POS machines has increased to 20 000 from 17 000 as at May 2016.
“So we have seen an improvement in value, volumes and the number of agents put in place in this country. We are trying to make sure that we are not putting too much pressure on cash.
“We have been pleased by the impact of the measures that we introduced and as I have always said in my Monetary Policy Statements, it is back to basics,” said Dr Mangudya.
On Statutory Instrument 64, Dr Mangudya said that the instrument is a tool aimed at promoting local production, as productivity is the solution to the current economic challenges.
He said this stemmed from the fact that Zimbabwe over-liberalised its economy in 2009 and forgot to stop importation of products that were produced locally.
“The Zimbabwean situation is that we over liberalised the economy, we opened too many doors. It is a fact the investor perception on Zimbabwe is bad at the moment, which is why investor participation in the country is low.
“The introduction of the SI 64 was done after consultations with various business representative organisations. The idea was to promote local content value chains and therefore out of this we need to increase production. The import priority list is, however, administered by banks and not the RBZ,” said Dr Mangudya.
Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said the challenges faced by the local industry are known and there was need to build a good working relationship between Government and the private sector.
He said industry should engage the Government on all the issues that may be affecting them and get a proper position rather than relying on speculative reports.