The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will with effect from this Friday introduce regulations to stop leakages of foreign exchange that have cost the nation US$1.8 billion in the just ended year.
RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya told stakeholders during the presentation of the 2016 Monetary Policy Statement that a lot of money is flowing out of Zimbabwe resulting in low revenue inflows to the fiscus, limited aggregate demand and constrained capacity utilisation for industry.
As part of efforts to retain funds for productive use, the central bank says it will with effect from this Friday remove the concept of free funds in the economy and direct banks to report surplus transactions to the RBZ.
Transactions on cash withdrawals worth more than US$10 000 will require a one day notice of approval before processing, while settlements on foreign payments by credit and debit cards will also be tightly monitored.
Local firms will also need central bank approval on offshore investments.
Dr Mangudya says banks found to be contravening the new regulations will be punished in terms of Section 7, 8, and 9 of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act.
“We need a paradigm shift on all the processes to ensure sustainability of this economy,” said Dr Mangudya.
The RBZ boss says Zimbabwe’s economy needs to be transformed through the efficient utilisation of resources.
“We need more efforts to plug the leakages and create business growth for the economy to undergo durable and robust transformation,” he added.
Highlights of the 2016 Monetary Policy Statement include policies to reduce cost of funding and measures to enhance gold and diamond production.
Systems to unlock liquidity inflows and resuscitation of the economic crimes court are also in place.
The monetary policy also seeks to improve the ease of doing business and the re-engagement with bilateral and multilateral financiers.
Deposits are projected to rise to US$5.6 billion.
By December last year, non-performing loans had dropped to 10.9 percent.