RBZ slashes ZIPIT daily limits in bid to tame forex black market

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By Mary Taruvinga

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has directed Zimswitch to slash ZIMSWITCH Instant Payment Interchange Technology (ZIPIT) daily and monthly limits to $20 000 and $100 000 respectively.

The directive follows a realisation there was now rampant abuse of the platform for illicit foreign currency trading among some locals, something that has propelled foreign currency rates.

Wonder Kapofu, FIU director general, in a letter directed to Cyril Nyatsanza, Chief Executive Officer Zimswitch Technologies, said the directive was with immediate effect.

“Until such time when adequate safeguards are built into the ZIPIT system to minimise the money laundering risk, Zimswitch is directed to implement with immediate effect daily and monthly ZIPIT limits of $20 000 and $100 000 respectively,” said Kapofu.

He added, “The limits have been arrived at, cognisant of the reality that very few Zimbabweans earn more than $100 000 per day and those who do not have other payment options available for higher value transactions.”

Kapofu said FIU has noted the existing ZIPIT transaction limits which have no monthly cap are being misused, primarily for illicit foreign currency transactions.

He said the current ZIPIT limits of $100 000 per day allowed a customer (subject to any bank specific limits) to move about $3 million per month using a single account and much more if he/she is multi-banked and or uses third party accounts.

Kapofu said the shortcomings in the ZIPIT system makes it difficult for banks, regulators and law enforcement agencies to speedily identify counter parties to a transaction or to identify multi-banked users.

ZIPIT is a platform that enables instant inter-bank funds transfers between ZIMSWITCH member institutions (Banks and Wallets) connected to the ZIMSWITCH network.