The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has authorized Money Transfer Agencies (MTA) to operate during the national lockdown starting on Wednesday, to allow the receipt of foreign currency remittances in the country.
The move is critical as it comes at a time when most of the country’s businesses have been put to a standby, hence preventing the coming in of foreign currency remittances which cannot be transacted on any digital platforms.
Diaspora remittances play a critical role in the Zimbabwean economy. Last year, the country received US$635 million in remittances, representing a 2,6 percent increase from US$619,25 million in 2018.
Said RBZ govenor Dr John Mangudya in a statement released yesterday:
“In light of the feedback from the recipients of diaspora remittances the bank wishes to advise the public that the following additional services will be provided by Money Transfer Agencies (MTAs) during the lockdown period
“MTAs with branches operating in retail outlets, shall with effect from Wednesday 8 April 2020 operate daily within timelines prescribed for operating retail outlets or shops and MTAs owned by banks and retail outlets or shops shall open for business three times a week, that is, on Tuesday to Thursday between 09.00 and 15.00 hours.
“The decision in respect of the extension of the above services is to allow for the receipt of foreign currency remittances which cannot be transacted on any digital or electronic platforms.”
Zimbabwe went on a national lockdown on the 30th of March after there was an outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, to prevent the spread of the the pandemic.
Although the lockdown was necessary it has seen a lot of businesses going on a standstill, except for a few which the president deemed as essential services, critical for the viability of the nation and its citizens.
This as a result will affect the country’s economic development as productivity has stopped, with some of the country’s important sectors such as tourism, industry and trade facing setbacks as they have been blocked from conducting business, that is attracting investors and tapping into export opportunities.