via RBZ to come hard on defaulters – DailyNews Live 2 January 2015 by Ndakaziva Majaka
HARARE – The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is set to prosecute non-compliant Foreign Exchange Companies (FECs) which failed to comply with a 90-day amnesty period that expired on December 30, 2014.
The amnesty, which was effected on September 1 2014, was a follow-up to the central bank’s monetary policy statement stipulations that FECs had to regulate all anomalies with the Exchange Control.
Last year, RBZ governor John Mangudya said non-compliant firms would face prosecution this year.
“Of course, we will have to take it up with authorities if we have cases of non-compliance, however, we do not expect to go to this level,” he said in his maiden monetary policy statement.
“After the expiry of this temporary reprieve period, the Reserve Bank shall introduce an importers’ flagging criterion with high administrative penalties similar to those currently being applied on exporters with overdue export receipts,” he added.
“Exchange Control shall issue the applicable flagging framework for importers to be effected on delinquent importers with effect from December 1, 2014.”
Among the measures introduced by the central bank are steps towards plugging financial leakages which have plagued the shaky Zimbabwean economy.
“In order to ensure the resolution and closure to all recurring and outstanding foreign exchange related compliance issues, the Reserve Bank shall grant an amnesty (pardon) to market participants that are committed to regularise all anomalies,” the central bank announced when the amnesty was effected.
Under the framework, two categories of amnesty, absolute and conditional, on Exchange Control violations were granted.
“The Reserve Bank is concerned that Exchange Control audits conducted have shown that there is a significant amount of import payments not matched with acquitted Bills of Entry (Imports).
“This implies that some importers are making false payments which have no corresponding value of imports coming into the country. As at June 30, 2014, outstanding Bills of Entry (Imports) amounted to $5,8 billion, for advance
import payments for the period January 2009 to June 2014,” Mangudya said.
He added that this development was worrisome as it demonstrated possible cases of illegal externalisation of foreign currency by some importers and the general lack of discipline in the economy.
Thus, the amnesty was a measure to curb externalisation and ensure that the country received true and fair value from its import payments.
The 90-day conditional amnesty allowed importers to acquit their Bills of Entry with authorised dealers for advance payments for all imported goods.
“In instances where there were no imports being sourced, the funds externalised should be repatriated back to Zimbabwe during this amnesty period,” Mangudya said.