5 October 2017

Zimbabwe: RBZ Chief Blasts Forex Wasters

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya has launched an indirect attack at President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace in a candid attack on locals who splurge on non-essentials abroad while using scarce foreign currency often kept in their bedrooms.

Addressing business leaders in Harare on Wednesday, Mangudya said the country had enough foreign currency which is however, being exchanged among locals still too reluctant to channel it within formal financial institutions for fear of the unknown.

"There is a mismatch in the economy, there is a huge appetite for forex but not all the demand is good," Mangudya said.

"The other one is artificial demand. Zimbabwe earns a lot of forex but the problem is how it is being utilised if we were using it appropriately and efficiently there would be no problem."

While he did not mention names, Grace's name features prominently among citizens with a penchant for spending huge sums of money on luxury items from abroad.

The first lady is under fire for purchasing a $1,3 million diamond ring from a Labanese dealer in a deal that went sour, spilling into the country's courts.

Lately, Grace was said to have purchased a R45m house in South Africa's plush area of Sandhurst. She was also linked to the purchase of a Rolls Royce Ghost model worth nearly half a million from a dealership in South Africa. Many were left wondering where she got the foreign currency she was using so freely.

As if this was not enough cause for public outcry, Grace's first-born child from her first marriage, Russell Goreraza was, lately, on the news for all the wrong reasons when he reportedly bought imported two Rolls Royce limousines. The two vehicles were valued at more than $5,4m.

Said Mangudya; "Now some of it (foreign currency) is going out the economy to import things that are useless others keep it in their homes because they remember 2008 and because of lack of confidence (in the system), the money does not circulate efficiently also."

The central bank chief could also have accidentally taken a pot-shot at President Mugabe who once said he was among locals who no longer kept his money with local banks.

Speaking during his customary interviews with ZBC-TV often beamed on the eve of his birthdays said he was among locals, Mugabe admitted that he kept his at home.

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