RBZ incorporates US$ on RTGS platform

By Staff reporter | 29 Jan 2019 at 09:16hrs
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has upgraded the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) platform to include the United States dollar as the institution seeks to facilitate payments of the greenback Nostro account transactions.

A Nostro account is a bank account held in a foreign country by a domestic bank mainly to facilitate settlement of exchange and trade transactions.

In a circular to RTGS participants yesterday, RBZ deputy director for financial markets division-National Payment Systems Mr Josephat Mutepfa said: "We advise that the RTGS platform has been upgraded to include the United States dollar to facilitate settlement of US Nostro Foreign Currency Account transactions."

He said the function was now available in the test environment for testing by participating institutions.

Mr Mutepfa said all participants are urged to send text messages end-to-end and ensure a full cycle of the transaction was completed.

"Results of the test should be logged immediately on the attached user acceptance testing form and submitted to the Reserve Bank on a daily basis until February 1, 2019," he said.

It is expected that the settlement of US dollar transactions will commence soon thereafter in the live environment. Concerns have been raised largely by exporters over the widening gap between the demand for foreign currency and the amount that was available to facilitate international payments.

As a result of the constraints, local banks have come under fire from manufacturing firms for failing to meet manufacturers' obligations as this led to shortage of raw materials locally.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) is on record highlighting that one of the major challenges frustrating efforts to increase output in the local manufacturing sector was to do with the shortage of critical raw materials.

This was based on the fact that banks were struggling to release hard cash from empty nostro accounts. The country is reeling under a cash shortage environment that has seen the monetary authorities intervening through various instruments to stimulate productivity in the manufacturing sector as well as ensuring continued money circulation.

In the 2018 manufacturing report released last week, CZI indicated that capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector increased by 3,1 percent to an average of 48,2 percent.

The industrial representative body however expressed fears in the report, which covers the period August 2017 to August last year, that capacity utilisation may this year go down by 7,7 percent to 34,3 percent due to foreign currency shortage.



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