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By Agencies

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced on Wednesday that members of the public will now get the same exchange rate as that applying to Zimbabweans living overseas.

Governor of the central bank Gideon Gono said in a statement that the exchange rate of 5,200 Zimbabwean dollars to the US dollar would now apply to individuals who want to change money at any commercial bank in the country, up from the current auction rate at 5,047.

The announcement of the special 5,200 Zimbabwean dollars rate follows Gono's monetary policy review last week, in which he announced this rate as a special 'diaspora floor price' for money sent by Zimbabweans living abroad through registered money transfer agencies.

Previously, banks exchanged foreign currency at the foreign currency auction rate but they can now exchange it at the diasporarate or auction rate, if it becomes higher.

Gono said many people were not sure of how to go about changing their money legally or were afraid of being asked the origin of the money at the banks.

"Any individual with foreign currency can go to any registered commercial bank and change it at a rate of 5,200 Zimbabwean dollars to the US dollar or the corresponding rate for other currencies," Gono said.

"No questions will be asked as to where the money came from," he added.

Money sent through registered money transfer agencies can be paid to recipients in Zimbabwe in foreign currency as cash, travelers' checks or bank drafts.

It can also be changed into local currency at the diaspora floor price or the auction rate, whichever is higher.

Those who opt to be paid in local currency do not pay any commission while those who opt for payment in foreign currency would be charged commission when they change the money at a bank.

Zimbabwe is facing foreign currency shortages as a result of poor export performance and withdrawal of financial support by some world financiers - Xinhua
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