RBZ says lockdown redirecting diaspora remittances via formal channels

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By Alois Vinga

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has noted a significant increase in diaspora remittances through the country’s formal channels during the current Covid-19 lockdown period.

Central bank governor John Mangudya confirmed the development in an interview with Tuesday.

“Due to the lockdown, informal channels of transmitting money to Zimbabwe have become very limited and as a result, those in the diaspora have limited options except to use the formal channels.

“This is indeed healthy for our economy as it increases our foreign currency earnings as a nation,” Mangudya said.

The RBZ boss said the country earned around US$6 million per week through remittances.

He said he has since directed all financial institutions to channel the foreign currency in their possession to local firms intending to finance raw material acquisitions.

“Companies operating in Zimbabwe need around US$80 million for raw materials apart from fuel and these must get the first priority because they in turn create more earnings through exports,” said Mangudya.

The central bank chief however urged the transacting public to access money transfer agents (MTAs) within their localities in order to avoid congesting city centres in attempts to minimise the spread of coronavirus.

“While the RBZ has pushed for members of the public to access their free funds, let us not forget that the Covid-19 pandemic is still in our midst hence the need to continue exercising social distancing within the queues.

“We also urge the public to access their money through the MTAs found in retail outlets within their communities in order to minimise over-crowding,” he said.

RBZ has been playing a pivotal role to increase public access to free funds since the commencement of the lockdown end of last month.

The measures implemented to date include allowing businesses to charge for goods in foreign currency and directing MTAs to open for business three times a week.