Sunday, 6 October 2019

ANGER OVER NEW TOUGH RULES FOR FOREX ACCOUNT HOLDERS


Zimbabweans employed by exporting companies and earn their salaries in foreign currency will now have their money converted into local currency or only withdraw the forex after getting approval from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, it has emerged.

According to a leaked internal memo from a commercial bank, the new rules will become effective tomorrow.

The memo said any unutilised balances in the individual nosto foreign currency accounts will be compulsorily liquidated 30 days after the salary is transferred to the bank.

“There shall be no cash withdrawals from these particular account funds under this arrangement,” part of the memo reads. 

“However, should there be a genuine need for cash to be withdrawn from the accounts, specific applications must be made to the RBZ and supported by letters written by the account holders detailing the reason and circumstances surrounding such requests.

“The absence of cash withdrawal facilities is also extended to offshore travellers who must load their master card prior to departure.”

The bank said there were strict rules to be followed in approving foreign payments by the nostro accounts holders.

“Where an account holder intents to conduct domestic transactions, such shall be done in line with S1 142 of 2009 where all such transactions should be done in local currency (for domestic transactions) funds in the accounts should be liquidated at the prevailing exchange rate,” added the memo.

“Foreign currency funds in these accounts may, however be used to settle bona fide foreign payments wherein the bank shall ensure that goods and services paid for are fully accounted for through submission of relevant documentarian to be scrutinised and approved by either the branch operations manager or branch manager who must annotate foreign payments from the nostro accounts.”

The bank instructed its branches to keep records of movements of funds from nostro accounts.

“Prior to processing transactions for this category of account holders, a statement enquiry operating accountant Master Card, to check and ensure that the transaction is within the limit of the amount authorised as per salary proceeds credited and that the Master Card has not been reloaded from another branch,” the memo added.

“The onus is on the administering branch to ensure full compliance with the conditions of the RBZ approval, otherwise we risk being fined, which regrettably, is unacceptable.

RBZ Governor John Mangudya confirmed the new rules. 

“That document is an internal document for (the named bank), kindly treat it with caution, but presuming it is authentic, here it is very correct because it is dealing with funds from exporters,” he said.

“Companies allowed to export and pay salaries in foreign currency, have to oblige because these are funds acquired through exports.

“Free funds from diaspora remittances are not subject to the provisions of that document. That document only deals with funds from exporters.”

The government is battling to contain a bludgeoning foreign currency market driven by an acute shortage United States dollars. Standard

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