The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has given top priority in processing foreign payments for goods and services meant for the tourism industry, as it moves to support the growth of the sector. BY NDAMU SANDU
Source: RBZ prioritises tourism growth – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 10, 2016
In May, 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 reduce the import bill.
In a recent circular, RBZ official, Moris Mpofu said top priority will be given for payments of goods and services not available locally meant for the tourism sector.
“To support the sector’s growth, all foreign payments from goods and services not locally available for the imports by tourism operators are categorised under priority one of the priority list for foreign payments,” he said.
Priority one is given to net exporters, who import raw materials or machinery to aid them to produce and generate more exports. It is also given to non-exporting importers of raw materials and machinery for local production (value addition) that directly substitute import of essential finished goods and importation of critical and strategic goods, such as basic food stuffs and fuel, health and agro-chemicals — granted these goods are not available locally.
Repayments of offshore lines of credit procured to fund productive activities; payments for services not available in Zimbabwe and foreign investment (capital disinvestments, profits and dividends) have also been given top priority.
In coming up with the import priority list, RBZ said it wanted to promote efficient utilisation of foreign exchange and to re-orient import demand towards productive uses. It said the list came after meeting business councils represented by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe.
Priority two (medium) is given to bank borrowing clients in the productive sector, who engage in critical and strategic imports.
Priority three (low) is given to payments of university and college fees and cash depositing clients in the retail and wholesale service industry. The customers generate cash, which can either be recycled for local use or repatriated to replenish nostro accounts. Low priority is also given to other borrowing clients, who have engaged in the importation of non-strategic goods.
RBZ said transactions considered not a priority include capital remittances from disposal of local property, capital remittances for cross border investments, funding of offshore credit cards and importation of trinkets. It also includes importation of low local content consumer goods and/or goods readily available in Zimbabwe, such as non-commercial vehicles, maheu, bottled water, tomatoes and vegetables, payments for services available in Zimbabwe and donations.
Mpofu said the tourism sector should adopt the multicurrency pricing system “for their tourism products and services and to continue to promote the use of plastic money and other cashless payments”.