By Alois Vinga
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) foreign exchange auction for the first quarter of 2022 reached US$528,1 million, with a huge chunk being channeled towards procurement of raw materials and machinery.
A recent update released by the central bank shows a total of 749 beneficiaries received US$107,8 million under the main auction and another 2 142 accessed US$17 850 257, allotted under the small to medium enterprises (SMEs) Foreign Exchange Auction during April 2022.
During the period US$438,1 million was allotted on the main auction with US$81,9 million being allotted on the SME auction.
Foreign payments for the period by source saw foreign currency accounts dominating the list after injecting US$1,8 billion constituting 76% of the receipts, followed by the foreign exchange auction which injected US$528,1 million constituting 22% and the Interbank market injecting just 2%.
Economist Doctor Prosper Chitambara said the statistics reflect a huge leap from what was recorded last year.
“There is great improvement compared to a similar period last year. We however expect a much bigger improvement in the second quarter owing to the fact that a raft of measures to plug some leakages were implemented right at the beginning of the quarter,” Chitambara said.
The top economist hailed the priority of allotments which saw raw materials, machinery and equipment receiving the highest chunk.
“This is very important in as far as stimulating industrial productivity is concerned. It also resonates with recent improvements in capacity utlisation as confirmed by business member organisations like the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.
“There is however need to address the local currency depreciation which is being affected more by speculative behavior as evidence shows that most of the fundamentals are in place,” he said.
He added that the surge in foreign currency deposits indicates surging confidence in the country’s banking sector backed by government’s consistency on the plans to maintain a dual currency.