THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe plans to sell US$1,1 million every week to bureaux de change for selling to individuals and MSMEs that are excluded from the existing foreign currency auction system.
To qualify for the SMEs foreign currency auction system, individuals and institutions must bid a minimum of US$2 500, an amount, which meant many players were excluded from accessing foreign currency and would be forced to resort to the parallel market.
However, from bureaux de change, individuals and institutions can buy any amount, up to a maximum of US$500 per day.
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Last week the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced that it will now sell foreign currency to bureaux de change for on-selling to Micro, Small and Medium Size Enterprises (MSMEs) and individuals for their various production requirements.
The new arrangement is expected to cater for MSMEs and individuals with requirement levels that are below the minimum qualifying threshold of the SME foreign exchange auction system.
The new development will see bureaux de change buy foreign currency from the RBZ at prescribed limit every Wednesday at the ruling weighted average exchange rate, and will be allowed to on-sell at a margin of not more than 8 percent of the weighted average exchange rate from the main auction.
RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya believes the US$1,1 million, will go a long way to feed the lesser market.
“This third window improves the inclusivity of access to foreign currency in the economy and should serve as many as 2 100 customers per week,” he said.
The SME foreign currency auction system served 293 customers on Tuesday, so for now we believe the US$1,1 million will be enough, but we will review it depending with the market demands, Dr Mangudya said.
Meanwhile, bureaux de change will only be allowed to sell foreign currency to individuals and MSMEs that have supporting invoices or travel documents.
“Foreign currency shall be sold for the purpose of international payments and travel and, shall be supported by invoices or travel documents as per operational guidelines for bureaux de change issued in December 2019,” reads part of the circular.
The use of national IDs or passport numbers for individuals or company number as it appears on the form No CR14 is expected to help reject repeated or transactions of more than US$500 by the same individuals or company on the same day.
“For the avoidance of doubt bureaux de change shall not sell foreign currency to any natural or legal person without the required proof,” reads the circular signed by the RBZ’s director of exchange control, Mr Farai Masendu.
Beneficiaries of foreign currency through bureaux de change are expected to provide acquittals for funds previously purchased from bureaux de change through providing proof of funds transfer or immigration stamped passport before accessing more funds.