A recent statutory instrument issued out by the RBZ will ensure the never-ending currency confusion in Zimbabwe… never ends. The statutory instrument orders exporters to pay the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) in forex for the next 6 months.
Yuhp, remember the use of foreign currencies for local transactions was banned a few months ago? Well, ever since the ban, slowly but surely it’s been reversed conditionally by the same people who issued it out…
Anyway, the statutory instrument outlines the following to ZESA:
- money from exporters can only be used to pay for electricity, imports, spare parts/critical equipments, foreign loan repayments and foreign insurance premiums;
- exporters that export less than 80% of their output will still have to pay 35% of their electricity bill in forex (they can pay 100% forex if they want to – Ha! good luck with that!);
- ZESA will keep all the payments in a “special account” reserved for the aforementioned purposes and will need approval from the RBZ to spend the money in these accounts.
- All forex payments must be made from Nostro accounts to bar the use of black-market funds.
Apart from being an implicit admission that the Interbank is a failure that doesn’t work, there are still concerns when an independent organisation suspected of abusing funds has to get approval from a regulator who is also suspected of abusing funds to spend its money.
Arrangements such as these come with a high risk of corruption and the regulatory back and forth screams of a regulator plugging holes as they arise, not long-term planning to fix the problems at the core.