The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe needs to concentrate on its role as regulator and not interfere in the allocation of foreign currency under a priority list framework as this gives impressions of a distorted economy, Special Advisor to the President Christopher Mutsvangwa has said.
He said the solution to the shortage of foreign currency lay in growing exports while the RBZ needed to concentrate on its role as a regulator and not the current situation where it was focused on hard currency allocation and its utilisation as if that was its principal role.
Minister Mutsvangwa was speaking at the Manicaland is Open for Business Conference in Mutare on Friday last week.
He said the role of central bank should be regulation of the financial services sector and creating a conducive monetary environment for the economy to thrive instead usurping roles and functions of ordinary banks.
“Allocation of foreign currency by the RBZ is a sign of a distorted economy, and this must stop.
“The focus must be on increasing exports, we need to produce quality goods for the global market to earn foreign currency rather than a situation where companies rely on allocations from the central bank,” Mr Mutsvangwa noted.
“The role of the central bank is to regulate the financial services sector and also creating an environment good for business.
“Foreign currency allocation is a signal of a kwashiorkor economy and President Mnangagwa is working on making sure this is corrected,” said Mr Mutsvangwa.
“President Mnangagwa is pushing for policies that support investment and bringing capital in the country.
“Our foreign policy has since changed and it is the new Government’s thrust that we should be friends with everybody and an enemy to none,” Mr Mutsvangwa said.
The Presidential advisor said there was need for urgent implementation of Special Economic Zones to increase exports and Manicaland was the most strategic area for SEZ’s. He said the province was the gateway to the sea, through Beira in Mozambique, and it remained one of the most strategic areas for promotion of exports.
Mr Mutsvangwa added that there had been massive interest from investors willing to make significant capital investments in various sectors of the economy. Through re-engagement efforts being undertaken by Government, some western countries which were hostile to Zimbabwe were beginning to warm up to the country.
“There is vibration from all over and they have since recognised that something is happening in Southern Africa and I cannot disclose the specifics at the moment, but we have been receiving positive responses from investors.
“Let’s improve productivity as a country and we have the capacity to do that, let’s produce goods for the global market,” said Mr Mutsvangwa.