RBZ rejects US$861m dodgy forex debt claims

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor John Mangudya gestures as he delivers his 2018 Monetary Policy Statement in Harare, Zimbabwe February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has processed claims for foreign currency-denominated legacy debt worth US$1.2bn, rejecting dodgy requests worth US$861 million, governor John Mangudya revealed on Monday.

After ending dollarisation last year, the government said the RBZ would take over forex-denominated debt owed to foreign suppliers, estimated at about US$2 billion at the time, after verifying the validity of claims. The debt accrued due to Zimbabwe’s foreign currency shortages.

Some of the debt is owed to foreign banks and airlines as well as suppliers of commodities such as fuel and grain.

“To date, Exchange Control has processed and validated blocked funds in an amount of US$1.2 billion from 730 applications out of 1,080 requests,” Mangudya said during Monday’s monetary policy presentation.

“Of those processed, 299 transactions with a value of US$861 million were rejected for various reasons, ranging from double-dipping to lack of supporting documentation.”

The balance of 350 transactions, with a combined value of US$457 million, are expected to be processed by the end of February 2020.

The verified foreign debt will be amortised over an extended period, with forex-denominated savings bonds being issued to some of the owed entities, Mangudya said.

Mangudya added that foreign debt worth US$361 million, owed by the RBZ, was not included in these figures.