Forex delays wreak havoc

Source: Forex delays wreak havoc – The Zimbabwe Independent October 20, 2017

THE delay in the allocation of foreign currency to companies by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (rbz) has resulted in businesses cancelling orders and suppliers doubling of prices to allow them to source the scarce forex on the black market.

By Kudzai Kuwaza

The development comes at a time when there is a debilitating liquidity crunch and an acute cash shortage that have severely crippled companies which need to import critical inputs for operations.

The high demand for foreign currency required to effect payments for goods and services sourced externally has seen the value of the bond note, which is supposed to be trading at par with the green back, declining by more than 50% on the black market. Prices of some basic doubled in last month.

Last year, the central bank came up with an import priority list for the efficient allocation of the scarce foreign currency.

However, in a wide-ranging interview with the Zimbabwe Independent this week, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president Divine Ndhlukula said some companies have gone for more than a year without receiving their foreign currency allocation from the central bank.

“Business is failing to import raw materials because foreign payments are not being processed with some having been in the queue for over a year now. This has seen some cancelling orders due to these delays. Some local suppliers have even doubled prices to allow themselves to buy forex,” she said.

“The foreign currency allocation framework is not efficient as most of our members have to wait for months to be able to import and this promotes exploitative opportunities for speculators.”

Ndhlukula attributed the hike in prices of basic commodities to the acute shortage of foreign currency.

“Recent price increases were as a result of speculative hype and artificial shortages due to forex shortages, which is a reality, and has become a major challenge for local businesses that rely on imports for their inputs to produce local basic commodities,” she said.

“Panic was also being driven by the informal sector accumulating basic commodities to sell for US dollars cash.
There seems to be an emergence of errant bankers, and fuel dealers which has also resulted in parallel markets that saw the huge loss of confidence in the local currency and creating unnecessary uncertainty in the market.’’

Ndhlukula said there is need to increase foreign direct investment (FDI), which plummeted from US$545 million in 2014 to US$319 million last year, according to statistics from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

“Any country’s economic success stems from a strong export sector, low unemployment, strong manufacturing sector and a balanced budget. We need new money into the economy from increased production hence the need for FDI and local investments,” Ndhlukula prescribed.

“An adoption of economically sound and clear policies, especially regarding the indigenisation legislation, is required, which will demonstrate a mixture of optimistic expectation and fervour to invest in Zimbabwe from both local and international investors. Consistency will help strengthen the operating environment which will avoid crowding out private sector investment through chronic fiscal deficits, which end up increasing the cost of funds as well as loss of market confidence.”

Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe recently revealed that they face expulsion from the International Organisation of Employers if they fail to pay their membership fee as they are still to access foreign currency from their account through the RBZ since April this year as the foreign currency shortages worsen.


  • comment-avatar

    Since 1961 “FOREX” has been a term only used and discussed in Rhodesia and then Zimbabwe. Exchange Control act brought into being in 1961 – still on the statute books today.
    It has always been scarce in these two countries as their respective governments have always tried to manipulate the price of it without heed to the market value of it.
    Both Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe governments after 56 years have still not learnt anything – try to rig the market in currency at your peril

  • comment-avatar

    It is easy to look at this from the wrong angle. The introduction of ‘Bond’ notes injected another currency in to the market. That currency because of uncertainty, lacked solid backing etc and fell from its original 1:1 (on a par) with the $US to perhaps something approaching 2:1. Therefore as most transactions are now forced, by reason of availability and political tinkering, to use the ‘bond’ currency in the pricing, the cost of imports will be higher, the international markets inside and outside Zim use the $US and see the ZimBond in poor status. In other words the foreign currency you need to use has gone up in value TO YOU. It’s still the same for everybody else. Really this is the dilemma, there is no easy fix, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. It was inevitable that this would happen, because a currency is only worth what the backer is worth. Toilet paper money without collateral is only toilet paper; what ever it says on it, even “Now wash your hands of Zimbabwe”. I cannot see why you find this so difficult to grasp, it is all common sense.