By Alois Vinga
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Foreign Exchange Auction Tuesday allotted a total US$29.2 million to participating companies amid calls by labour for government to rein in errant businesses violating exchange rates in their pricing.
The US dollar continued to trade at last week’s exchange rate of $81.34, signifying sustained stability .
The total foreign currency allotted signifies an increase from last week’s figure of US$26.1 million indicating a considerable increase in foreign currency availability for companies.
The exchange rate has remained stable, maintaining last week’s premium in a development which will positively impact on price stability and increase market predictability.
A trading update released at the close of business shows that 255 bids were received on the main auction while 26 were disqualified. The platform was allotted a total of US$27.3 million with the highest bid rate reaching $88.07 and a low of $79.00.
Raw materials were allotted US$11.3 million, machinery and equipment US$4.7 million, Consumables US$2,3 million, services US$2.7 million, Retail and Distribution US$1.2 million, Fuel Electricity and gas US$2.4 million.
On the Small to Medium Enterprises auction, a total US$1.8 million was allotted out of the 153 bids which were received on the day. Exchange rates reached a high of $86.00 and a low of $79.00.
Raw materials were allotted US$546 149, Machinery and Equipment were allotted US$244 310, Consumables US$579 922, Services US$140 841, Retail and Distribution US$140 542, Fuel Electricity and Gas US$140 542among other priority allotments.
The 17th auction saw a grand total of US$29.2 million being allotted to both auctions.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general, Japhet Moyo has called on the relevant authorities to discipline businesses in the habit of pegging prices at premiums higher than the official rate.
“We urge the government to look into how business is operating at the moment with the aim of weeding out such malpractices that we believe is prejudicing both the consumer and the fiscus,” said Moyo.
The ZCTU secretary said some retailers are refusing to display both prices in RTGS and US$ as required by the law.
Moyo said in cases where these prices are displayed, one wonders what sort of rate they would be using.
“Their receipting is ambiguous and leaves consumers perplexed while others are not issuing proper receipts declaring the currency tendered,” he added.