HARARE (Bloomberg) –The local authority which runs the affairs of Zimbabwe’s capital has reached an agreement with the central bank allowing it to charge for services in local and foreign currency.
The move, announced in a statement Friday, marks a reversal by the Harare City Council of an earlier resolution that had required residents to pay for some services exclusively in foreign currency. The use of US dollars had been mandated after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Financial Intelligence Unit froze the council’s foreign currency denominated accounts.
The change in policy eases the burden on residents in a country where many, including the those in the ruling party, are pushing to revert to the use of local currency as the sole means of exchange.
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Council spokesman Innocent Ruende said by phone that the decision to allow the use of both Zimbabwe dollars and foreign currency was part of the agreed process toward “unfreezing” of the council’s forex accounts.
“The accounts have not been activated yet, but we expect that to happen soon,” Ruende said, adding that the regulator hadn’t provided any definite timeline for releasing the accounts.
Under the latest revision, resident can either use foreign currency or the Zwl The use of the local currency, Zwl, at the prevailing interbank rate, according to a council statement.