Monetary policy review to address forex shortages – minister

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By UK Bureau

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) will address the country’s biting foreign currency shortages in its monetary policy review which is expected later this month, a cabinet minister has said.

Zimbabwe has long struggled with a serious foreign currency crunch with the problem lately manifesting in shortages of fuel and other imported basics such as medicines.

Miners which need to import consumables and spare parts have also been affected with gold producer Rio Zim forced to temporarily close three of its mines last November.

However, addressing, a mining conference in Cape Town, South Africa Monday, Zimbabwe’s mines minister Winston Chitando said the RBZ would seek to alleviate the challenge.

“One of the current challenges which the industry is facing relates to foreign currency retention,” Chitando was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

“The governor will over the next week or two come up with monetary policy intervention which would address that issue.

“The issue of foreign currency is being addressed as we want to ensure the mining industry continues to grow.”

The minister added; At the end of the day it is an issue of balancing the needs of investors with the needs of the country…

“The issue of policy clarity and policy consistency is absolutely top.”

Government’s insistence that the surrogate bond note and RTGS currency have the same value as the US dollar has also been blamed for confusion in money markets.

In interviews ahead of the monetary policy review, economist urged the authorities to end denial over the issue.

“We expect government to allow the market to determine the exchange rates and tackle issues that will not harm relations with the private sector.

“The RBZ must also put in place mechanisms that assist in confidence restoration for the public to buy into policy measures,” economic commentator John Robertson told recently.