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Diaspora bonus: RBZ warns local banks

17/01/2017 00:00:00
by Anna Chibamu
 
RBZ chief John Mangudya
 
RELATED STORIES

THE central bank says it will investigate allegations that some banks are not paying the export bonus to clients who are bringing foreign currency into the country.

The move come follows complaints by customers that some commercial banks such as Ecobank and Stanbic were not remitting the five percent incentive to their accounts as directed by the central bank last year.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya confirmed the mooted probe in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com at the weekend.

“Under the policy measure that the bank (announced), all people receiving money from the diaspora through their respective banks should get an incentive of three percent going to the recipient and around 2.5 percent accredited to the transfer agent or those receiving on their part.

“We need to see what is happening on the ground and this allegation will be investigated as an urgent matter.”

Clients had complained: “We understand RBZ directed banks to pay incentives to those who bring in forex through their respective banks but we have never seen that reflecting on our statements.

“FBC, Standard bank and CBZ are said to be abiding by the directive as incentives have been paid, but Ecobank is yet to do so,” said an Ecobank customer.

Another client with Stanbic who works for a company from the United States complained that she has never received the incentive since its introduction last year.

Contacted for comment, Stanbic Zimbabwe CEO Joshua Tapambgwa said the issue was not something to discuss over the phone.

He however, insisted that his bank has been following central bank’s directive.

“We have followed all of the central bank directives and I am not aware that some of our clients are not benefiting.

“In any case I am not supposed to discuss this with you over the phone,” Tapambgwa said.

An official from Ecobank Borrowdale branch told said her bank was following orders from the central bank, adding clients claiming they were not getting the bonus were being dishonest.

“That is not true. We have to follow a directive from RBZ. It is our regulator and those clients know where to go for concerns,” the official said.

The RBZ introduced the Diaspora Remittances Incentives Scheme last year in a bid to encourage remittances through formal channels. The scheme benefits both the money transfer agents and the receiver of the funds.



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Mangudya said diaspora remittances had already increased to $50 million from a monthly average of $45 million.

“We have seen an increase in remittances to around $50 million due to the incentive, although, overall, it all boils down to utilisation.”


 
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