RBZ gets tough on exporters

HARARE - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has imposed fines on exporters, accusing them of externalising up to $360 million.

The regulator said some exporters were keeping their export proceeds offshore beyond the prescribed 90 days, thereby “contributing to the liquidity crunch in the market.”

Zimbabwe has been experiencing liquidity challenges since the introduction of the multiple currency system early 2009.

The measures, effective from February 11, 2013, are expected to enforce the timeous acquittal of CD1/CD2 and TR2 forms among other things.

“Exporters (merchandise traders, service providers, tourism operators and cross border transport operators) are advised that holding of export proceeds offshore beyond the statutory period… from the date of export without Exchange Control authority is regarded as externalisation and therefore, a serious violation of the Exchange Control regulations,” said Morris Mpofu, RBZ’s exchange control division chief.

“In order to curb this externalisation of export proceeds, exporters are advised that administrative penalties on overdue exports have been reviewed,” said Mpofu.

He said exporters who take between 91 days and 120 days to remit their proceeds would be penalised $30 while those reaching 180 days would be required to pay $75, $150 will be levied on those who bring in their export proceeds after 181 days.

This comes as local manufacturers have lambasted the country’s export procedures saying they were contributing to the country’s poor export performance.

In his 2013 Monetary Policy Statement, central bank Gideon Gono said the country’s trade deficit stood at $3,6 billion in 2012 due to the underperformance of the export sector.

Both exporters and importers contend that the country’s export transit procedures have not improved despite the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority’s rollout of the ASYCUDA World version two years ago.

ASYCUDA is a system designed to help countries automate Customs processes on the importation/exportation of goods and compile accurate trade statistics.

Implementation of the system was largely expected to speed up clearance procedures at the country’s border posts.

”Furthermore, exporters with total overdue export receipts to the tune of $150 000 and above, regardless of the period of the overdue position, shall be purple-flagged in the CEPECs system and shall access export documentation at a penalty fee of $150 per form,” said Mpofu adding that for advance payments, the exporter shall excess export documentation at a cost recovery fee of $5 per form.

“Exchange Control shall continue to carry out routine and random inspections on authorised dealers to ensure that exporters and cross border transport operators are charged the stipulated fees for accessing the export documentation,” he said. - Business Writer

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