The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is finalising documents to access the $70 million facility to stabilise the nostro accounts, governor John Mangudya has said.
BY NDAMU SANDU
“We are drawing down that amount by the end of the month; there are documents that we are finalising. We are happy about it because it is coming at a time the tobacco marketing season has started. So, it means if you add that plus tobacco money coming in, it means that we are going to clear our backlog for payments,” he said.
Mangudya announced the facility in his January monetary policy statement. The facility was supposed to be in place last month. The nostro stabilisation facility is meant to deal with the current delays in the processing of outgoing payments for the procurement of productive imports.
He said the measure was necessary to augment the foreign exchange resources in the banks’ nostro accounts whilst awaiting the opening of the tobacco and cotton selling season.
Mangudya said Zimbabwe had $250 million in nostro accounts, a small figure considering that imports are still high.
The introduction of the facility comes at a time banks have been struggling to process foreign payments, due to the depleting nostros. This has seen companies failing to pay for imported raw materials, thereby threatening industries.
RBZ has introduced a number of controls to manage the depleting nostro accounts.
The controls have seen a number of banks scrapping the use of Visa and MasterCard debit cards for local transactions.
In May last year, RBZ came up with a four-tier import priority list for the efficient use of foreign exchange resources, with a bias towards supporting the productive sectors of the economy and reducing the import bill.
However, exporters have since engaged government, complaining that some banks were not adhering to the import priority list and that their businesses were now at risk.