HARARE – The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) – which has set aside $300 million worth of facilities to ramp up exports – says it is keen to ensure that the targeted groups of producers access them.
RBZ Deputy Governor Dr Kupukile Mlambo said this during the two-day Zimbabwe Mining Investment Conference which kicked off in Harare yesterday.
Dr Mlambo said the $300 million facilities, which include a $150 million gold support fund and a $28 million tobacco facility, would be key in ramping up foreign currency generation in Zimbabwe. Interest rates for the facilities are pegged at between 7, 5 percent and 10 percent.
“We would like to have these facilities to be cheaper,” said Dr Mlambo.
However, since the central bank is obtaining the funds from foreign financiers, it is fairly difficult to have lower interest rates due to the country’s alleged high risk profile.
It is important, however, to note that the risk profile of the country has been improving since the new administration led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over. The RBZ is desperate to ramp up exports so as to increase foreign currency in the country.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a fierce foreign currency shortage which has seen manufacturers waiting for almost a year before accessing foreign exchange to process external payments for spare parts and raw materials.
This has had an adverse effect on availability of some goods and services in the country. Similarly, the unavailability foreign currency has also led to shortages of paper money in the country and it is hoped that the facilities by the RBZ would help firms to push up exports.
In 2016, the RBZ introduced bonds notes as an export incentive to encourage producers to export more. From May 2016 to December last year, exporters have received $297 million in incentives.