Companies are struggling to access export facilities from banks and have implored the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to come up with alternatives on how the funds should be disbursed.
An exporter told RBZ deputy director of Financial Markets Ernest Matiza at the ZimTrade Export Development Funding breakfast meeting the banks were frustrating them from accessing the RBZ facility.
“Your comment on the gold facility was very informative, where you said you think it is successful because it is being administered from Fidelity Printers, now that says something about the banks, doesn’t it? That you are trying to push exports and maybe the banks are not coming to the party because of the stringent way they do these things, in the end, it is a cost for you (as an exporter) to access that finance,” he said.
Another exporter present at the breakfast meeting added that it was an arduous process to access those export facilities.
“When you go through the banks what they will tell you is that we will give local currency, but they cannot give access to foreign currency even if it is for the export market development or trying to import machinery which is the other side import substitution,” he said.
“So, I am not sure how we can be assisted because at the end of the day, it is good to talk about let us export, let us do that, but practically it is not possible because if you are put in that queue for foreign currency allocation you never get anything.”
In his 2018 monetary policy statement, RBZ governor John Mangudya said the economy’s foreign currency inflows are on a positive trajectory, largely on account of increasing export receipts that grew by 36% in 2017 from the 2016 level.
Currently, the RBZ has several facilities to help exporters in export businesses to boost exports.
The facilities include a $150 million and $70 million facilities for the country’s two top exports, gold and tobacco respectively among others.
Matiza said any exporter who was struggling to access the export facility was likely due to them having a bad credit history.
“I think that I have spoken about Zamco [Zimbabwe Asset Management Company] who have taken the non-performing loans. Whose non-performing loans are those? It is for you, me and the companies which are operating in Zimbabwe. I think that through their (banks) due diligence as well, I think that is where we find most of us, saying banks are not being responsive because already they have Batisai and Sons (for example) who have non-performing loans,” he said.
“They have taken Batisai and Sons to Zamco, now they are saying they want a loan again? As Zimbabweans and companies operating here we need to have a culture of repaying loans. Yes, there are other challenges we have noticed as well at the banks, but as Zimbabweans we have to have a culture of repaying loans.”