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By Staff Reporter

THE Western Union, a leading provider of global money transfer services, announced Monday that it was resuming transfers to Zimbabwe, with recipients being paid in US dollars.

Western Union ceased its Zimbabwe operations after the government introduced measures for money transfer agencies to pay in the over-valued local currency, forcing Zimbabweans abroad to boycott the service.

Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono lifted the restrictions on the money transfer agents in his monetary statement at the start of the year.

The governor said the move was designed to "promote the free flow of foreign exchange in the economy."

He added: "With immediate effect, recipients of transfers from the Diaspora can be paid their free funds in foreign exchange without limitations. This way, stakeholders with relatives abroad, who to this point were shunning the safe, legal Authorised Dealers and Money Transfer avenues of receiving funds can now transact through the formal system."

Western Union boats of over 260,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

"With Western Union ’s Next Day service, customers also have the added
convenience of sending money from the UK to Zimbabwe for as little as £4.90, offering even more choice and value for money," the company said in a statement.

However, the company said it will retain its instant transfer service.

Fredex and People’s Own Savings Bank are the two Western Union agents in Zimbabwe.

Western Union Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Sisa Ntshona said: “Our representatives in Zimbabwe are all geared up and ready to go."

Electronic cash transfer, so much a part of life to today’s user, was pioneered by Western Union in 1871, making it the one of the world’s oldest money transfer business that has connected people for more than 135 years.

Following the closure of the agencies, the interbank foreign exchange market posted a 17.7% decline in hard currency sales from September to October last year, when they totaled US$13.5 million, and a 10.5% fall in foreign exchange purchases to US$15.3 million.

The RBZ was forced to reinstate seven of the 16 MTAs' licences. The licences are renewable every year and the RBZ said it would closely monitor compliance.

Zimbabwe has been struggling to raise enough foreign currency after a dip in exports. Several key industries have been forced to shut down or downscale operations.

For other prices and services customers can visit their nearest Western Union Agent location or call 0800 833 833


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