Zimbabwe Central Bank relaxes money transfer agencies lockdown as forex dries up

HARARE – Zimbabwe Central Bank on Monday called on money transfer agencies to open door for business on Wednesday as the country faces serious shortages of food much of which is imported from neighbouring countries.

In a statement seen by The Zimbabwe Mail, the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank Governor John Mangudya said; “Further to His Excellency the President’s Directive of 6 April 2020 on the need to provide critical services to the public during the National Lockdown period, and in light of the feedback from the recipients of diaspora remittances, the Bank wishes to advise the public that the following additional services will be provided by Money Transfer Agencies (MTAs) during the Lockdown Period as follows: –

“MTAs with branches operating in retail outlets shall, with effect from Wednesday the 8th of April 2020, operate daily within the timelines prescribed for opening of retail outlets or shops; and MTAs owned by banks and those with own banking halls and branches outside banks and retail outlets or shops, shall open for business three times a week, that is, on Tuesday to Thursday, between 0900 and 1500hrs,” statement said.

“To allow for operational adjustment, this directive takes effect from Wednesday the 8th of April 2020.

The decision in respect of the extension of the above services is to allow for the receipt of foreign currency remittances which cannot be transacted on any digital or electronic platforms.”

“In order to prevent and mitigate the spread of Covid-19, MTAs shall be required to spread remittance payout access points and to strictly observe the social distancing guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the World Health Organisation from time to time”.

It’s been over a week since Zimbabwe entered a 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
But people already calling for it to be lifted, saying they’re starving.Before the lockdown, Zimbabwe was already facing critical shortages of basic commodities, especially staples like maize meal and cooking oil.

Some Harare residents are now calling for the lifting of the lockdown.

According to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union, the country’s unemployment rate is over 90 percent.

Many people have become street vendors to survive.

But the lockdown has seen them being kicked off the streets and now they have no source of income.

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