Zim earns $926m from tobacco exports

HARARE - Zimbabwe has earned $926 million from tobacco exports since the beginning of the selling season early this year.

This was after the country had exported over 163 million kilogrammes of the golden leaf to various countries across the world.

Latest statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show that China maintained its top spot as the major consumer of flue-cured tobacco from Zimbabwe after importing 69 million kg valued at $565 million at an average of $8,20 per kg.

South Africa also maintained its second position having imported 21,5 million kg of tobacco worth $65,2 million.

Other countries in the top 10 list include Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Sudan, Russia, Germany and Vietnam among others.

This comes as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), which recently introduced bond notes to ease the current liquidity crunch, has honoured its word and gave farmers an export incentive as a way of boosting production.

“The bank is also pleased to advise that all tobacco growers who sold their tobacco this year through the auction floors, including contracted tobacco growers, have now benefited from the five percent export incentive scheme,” central bank governor John Mangudya said.

He added that the move was expected to provide impetus to tobacco farmers to continue with both reaping and processing of this year’s tobacco crop.

“The bank is encouraged by the smooth circulation within the domestic economy of bond notes which were primarily introduced to finance the export incentive scheme of up to five percent payable to exporters of goods and services and Diaspora remittances.

“A cumulative total of $6,2 million bond notes have been deposited by the banking public at banks as at December 16, 2016. Against this background, bond notes shall fortuitously and subserviently go a long way to mitigate cash shortages within the economy,” Mangudya added.

The central bank chief warned that the clearing of cash queues at banks will take longer than anticipated due to an increase in cash demand during the festive season.

“The bank is also encouraged by the manner in which the banking public continues to embrace the use of plastic money.

“We would like to urge financial institutions and other service providers to ensure that point of sale and other electronic payment facilities are spread throughout the country.

“In view of this positive development and the need to ensure that the banking public is not continuously constrained by the lower withdrawal limits on bond notes of $25 and $50 per day, the bank has with immediate effect increased the daily bond note withdrawal limit to $100 per day or $300 per week for banks that have instituted weekly withdrawal limits,” Mangudya said.

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