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RBZ denies banning foreign currency withdrawals

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has dismissed media reports that it would raid foreign currency (Nostro) accounts and prevent Zimbabweans from withdrawing their USD funds.

In a statement released Monday on its social media platform, the central bank dispelled the rumours as false, insisting it would not raid the Nostro foreign currency accounts, rather the operation of those accounts would remain unchanged.

“RBZ would like to dismiss the social media reports suggesting that Nostro Accounts will be raided by the RBZ and Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. This assertion should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves. There hasn’t been any change in the operation of Nostro Accounts,” said the central bank.

This follows weekend reports that emanated from an FBC circular to its staff on the handling of Nostro foreign currency accounts.

The circular stated that a company or organisation may pay its salaries in USD, if it had approval from the RBZ’s Exchange Control Unit, while adding that cash withdrawals from one’s Nostro foreign currency account were banned unless the central bank approved genuine “reasons and circumstances” for the cash request.

This FBC circular was met with widespread condemnation from people, both offline and online, that the government would further erode the trust in those foreign accounts by converting the foreign currency into ZimDollar, especially if the funds remained in individual accounts for a period of 30 days.

Although foreign payments were allowed, the FBC circular stated that banks would have an obligation to make sure those goods and services that were paid for, would be fully accounted for.

It was also suggested in the circular that the foreign currency in the Nostro foreign currency account should be used domestically, which meant the funds would be converted to the ZimDollar at the current rate of the interbank market exchange.

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