Zim's central bank talks tough on currency breaches

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Harare - Zimbabwe’s central bank threatened to cancel the licences of banks and foreign currency dealers found to have violated new exchange control regulations aimed at easing a dollar shortage.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last week sent a directive changing the way banks and other authorised foreign-currency dealers are required to handle export earnings, adding measures aimed at encouraging companies to export their products through an incentive fee, according to a copy of the circular obtained by Bloomberg News and confirmed by the central bank. The regulator also plans to bolster compliance monitoring systems to ensure adherence to the rules, the circular said.

Zimbabwe, which abandoned its own currency in 2009 because of hyperinflation, trades mainly in US dollars, while the rand and euro are also used. Lenders limited cash withdrawals from ATMs last month as the country’s ailing economy caused supplies of the greenback to evaporate. It also introduced so-called bond notes, which will be equal in value to the dollar, while drawing up a priority list of what can be imported into the country using foreign currency.

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