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Bureaux de change start selling US dollars to public

by Staff reporter
10 Sep 2021 at 07:19hrs | Views
BUREAUX de change yesterday started selling foreign currency to ordinary walk-in customers as per the resolutions of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe monetary policy committee MPC) meeting last month to promote financial inclusion and access to forex for small value transactions.

In terms of the MPC's resolutions, members of the public wishing to buy foreign currency are now able to approach any registered bureau de change, and upon production of the national registration identity card, they can buy the prescribed maximum amount of US$50 per week.

They can buy the forex, from bureaux de change, at the official RBZ ruling auction exchange rate ($86,21 this week) plus a commission of just 10 percent, which comes to about $94,60 for US$1, a significantly lower price than the black market rate of around $160 to the greenback.

The intervention by the RBZ and its MPC comes on the backdrop of a widening gap between the official exchange and black market foreign exchange rates, making it difficult for ordinary citizens to afford small value transactions that require hard currency.

Previously, there were no provisions for the general public, especially those seeking to do domestic transactions in forex, without passports or receipts for external payments, to purchase US dollars from bureaux de changes, resorting only to the open market, if need be.

A survey around the Harare Central Business District yesterday revealed that some bureaux de change were selling foreign currency (predominantly US dollars), but it emerged the hard currency ran out before midday yesterday. While Access Finance and Canarium bureaux de change bemoaned network challenges and POS machine failures, respectively, officials at Quest financial services said the public was now aware of the facility and  the only challenge would be meeting the anticipated high demand.

"Here we only require your identification card, bank card and you get your weekly US$50 allocation.

"This facility provides foreign currency to general citizens at a generous price therefore the bureaux de change are being overwhelmed by clients seeking to benefit from the facility," said a treasurer at Quest Financial Services. He indicated that the availed funds could not meet the demand at hand.

Presenting results of the MPC meeting a fortnight ago, the RBZ said it would, "....liberalising the operations of bureaux de change to promote financial inclusion by allowing them to process small value foreign currency transactions of up to US$50 per person per week on the basis of individual identities, with charges and commissions levied by the bureau de change not exceeding 10 percent per transaction."

The monetary policy committee also lauded the notable performance of foreign currency receipts which increased by 32 percent to US$5.09 billion as of 7 August 2021 compared to US$3.85 billion received during the same period in 2020. On the flip side, cumulative foreign exchange payments increased by 42 percent to US$3.59 billion as at 7th of August 2021 compared to US$2,52 billion for the same period in 2020.

The notable increase in foreign currency receipts is vital for sustaining the foreign exchange market and fostering exchange rate stability. Zimbabwe dollar official rate has been fairly stable since the start of the year and besides the introduction of Statutory Instrument 127 of 2021 there has been minimal introduction of policies thus a reasonably steady environment.

Source - the herald
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