The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says the US$50 facility is now limited to pensioners, senior citizens, people living with disability and for medical purposes.
Late last year, the RBZ authorised bureaux de change to sell foreign currency to ordinary walk-in customers in a bid to promote financial inclusion and access to forex for small value transactions.
According to resolutions that were made by the monetary policy committee (MPC) in August 2021, members of the public wishing to buy foreign currency could approach any registered bureau de change to buy the prescribed maximum amount of US$50 per week.
However, in his Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) this Monday, RBZ Governor John Mangudya said the facility was now being abused by some members of the public and the central bank has resolved to limit the facility to certain categories of people. Said Magudya:
The Bank availed the US$50 Facility to assist members of the public to access foreign currency for small domestic purchases and payments at the official exchange rate through bureaux de change which are allowed to charge up to 10% over the cost of funds.
The Bank, has, however, noted, with concern the abuses of this Facility by some members of the public.
In this regard, the Bank is refining the US$50 Facility, with immediate effect, to limit it to the vulnerable members of the society, that is pensioners, senior citizens, people living with disability and those requiring forex for medical purposes.
Those eligible can still, upon production of the national registration identity card, buy the forex from bureaux de change at the official RBZ ruling auction exchange rate plus a commission of just 10 per cent.
Even factoring in the 10 per cent commission, the rate offered by bureaux de change is still significantly lower price than the black market rate.