By Alois Vinga
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has limited the access to foreign currency on Bureaux De Change allotments of US$50 to the vulnerable groups of society.
Last year the central bank introduced the facility to cater for all citizens who initially accessed US$50 per week before moving it to a maximum of US$100 per month.
Presenting a Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) Monday, RBZ governor John Mangudya said the facility was meant to assist members of the public to access foreign currency for small domestic purchases and payments at the official exchange rate through bureaux de change which are allowed to charge up to 10% over the cost of funds.
“The Bank, has however, noted, with concern the abuses of this Facility by some members of the public. In this regard, the Bank is refining the US$50 Facility, with immediate effect, to limit it to the vulnerable members of the society, that is pensioners, senior citizens, people living with disability and those requiring forex for medical purposes,” he said.
The developments come at a time when the bank has seen domestic economic recovery which is expected to continue albeit at a slower rate of 5,5% from 7,8% recorded in 2021 which is in line with global trends where the International Monetary Fund projects the global economy to grow by 4,4% in 2022 compared to 5,9% in 2021, as rising Covid-19 cases, supply chain disruptions and higher inflation hamper economic recovery.
The bank said it is encouraged by the tremendous effort being made by banks to enable cashless transactions through digital and electronic banking services to their customers, more so during this Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Bank is therefore encouraging the public to bank their cash and utilise these digital and electronic services, that include credit and debit cards, to minimise the risk of theft and robberies associated with carrying cash on person or possession of large sums of cash at premises,” added Mangudya.