Chinamasa to investigate service stations that demand payment in US dollars


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Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said yesterday he is going to investigate service stations that demand payment for fuel in foreign currency because they have no right to do so since they are not using their own foreign currency to buy fuel.

Chinamasa said service stations are being allocated the foreign currency to buy fuel by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe so they have no right to demand payment in foreign currency.

“All fuel importers are not using their own foreign currency.  They are using foreign currency that they are given by the central bank so they have the least excuse to demand payment in foreign exchange,” Chinamasa told Parliament yesterday. 

“These are issues that clearly we are going to follow up.  If there is any loop-hole in the law, we will certainly seek to close it.”

The Finance Minister also said he was looking at ways to close the black market, but the country needed foreign currency to do that.

This problem was likely to be solved when the country starts earning foreign currency through tobacco sales, he said.

“I want to say that in the long term, the measures that have been taken by the Reserve Bank will certainly dry up availability of that foreign exchange to those who want to practice black market activities,” he said.

“I say so because and I pointed out this in this august House before – since May last year, we are moving away from an over-liberalised foreign exchange market to one which is managed.  What this means is that we know which players or companies export out of the country.

“Almost 80-90% of exports are managed through the central bank.  The central bank has now introduced a system whereby for each export, it retains 50% foreign exchange for use for importation of fuel and also for use by those economic players who are into import substitution who may want to import raw materials. 

“The other 50% goes to the exporters, for itself and also for purchase of spares and raw materials.  We think that over the future and as we start the tobacco auction system, we should be able to know what foreign exchange is coming in through the traditional structured channels and we are going to manage it for the entire economy and not for individuals.

“There will be very little foreign exchange available outside that market which can be traded on the black market.”

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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