RBZ Freezes City Of Harare’s Forex Accounts After Council Demands USD Payments For Services
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) ’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has frozen the Harare City Council’s forex accounts. The authorities made the move after the Council announced that some of its services will now only be paid for exclusively in USD from 1 September 2022.
The FIU said it had frozen the city council’s forex accounts as part of a crackdown on local authorities involved in illicit financial transactions.
The central bank said this is necessary to control the parallel market rate, which had previously been spiralling out of control.
Speaking to the Sunday Mail, FIU director-general Mr Oliver Chiperesa warned other local authorities that they were going against the law by pegging prices in foreign currency.
“We have frozen the Harare City Council US dollar accounts. In terms of the law, they are expected to allow the public to pay in either currency, but they are having a practice where they are insisting on US dollar payments without the option of paying in Zimbabwe dollars for some services. We have been engaging them, to bring them to order,” Mr Chiperesa said.
He also warned all public institutions not to use parallel market rates when setting prices.
“So we are going to be targeting public entities, not only those refusing to accept the local currency for certain services, but also businesses that are charging using parallel market rates. There’s no excuse for anyone, especially public institutions,” he said.
The City of Harare recently said the decision to charge some services exclusively in USD was part of a resolution to capacitate Council.
In a statement, the Council said,
“Council wishes to advise its valued residents and stakeholders that certain fees chargeable by Council are now payable exclusively in United States Dollars (USD) with effect from the 1sr of September 2022.
“The fees exclude all charges that are accessible through the monthly bills, i.e. water consumption, sewerage, refuse collection and rates. The above-mentioned charges will remain open to being payable using multi-currency as may be opted by the client.
“This development is in line with Council’s Resolution made on the 3’ of August 2022 and the need to capacitate Council to continue sustaining service delivery. The USD tariffs will remain as contained in the 2022 approved budget or Schedule 25A.”
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