The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has come out guns blazing against reports that they intend to raid salary Nostro accounts of those people who are paid locally. Do not be foolish enough to believe them.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe would like to dismiss the social media reports suggesting that Nostro Accounts will be raided by the RBZ and Ministry of Finance & Economic Development.

This assertion should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves. There hasn’t been any change in the operation of Nostro Accounts.

RBZ On Twitter.

Do not believe them …

Technically the RBZ is not going to raid your account the same way a robber would dispossess you. They are the monetary authorities in Zimbabwe and therefore can legally “rob” you of your foreign currency. At the end of the day, you will be left with the Zimbabwean Dollar ( the RTGS version of it) in your account- a currency that is breaking records as the worst currency in the world.

A memo bearing the letterhead of FBC “leaked” over the weekend. According to this memo if you are being paid in foreign currency you can open a Nostro bank account into which you can receive your salary.

The account comes with certain restrictions:

  • Withdraw the foreign currency as cash e.g. USD currency any withdrawals would be turned into bond notes at the prevailing interbank rate one would assume
  • If you want to make a foreign payment your bank has to ensure that it is bon fide. This leaves a lot of room for banks to refuse to authorise your payments here. Especially given the fact that banks have an incentive not to authorise your payment
  • What incentive you ask, well another condition of the account is that if there are any funds in it after 30 days such funds are to be converted at the prevailing interbank rate.

The interbank rate is being set by the banks themselves and it varies from bank to bank. While it’s ostensibly a market-based rate, in reality, its not. You see the rate is supposed to be based on a willing seller and willing buyer principle.

However, given the fact that your funds can be forcibly converted into an unstable currency, you are under pressure as the buyer has all the power. It is rather unfair that the buyer gets to approve what payments are bona fide. To prove this point, in the interbank average, banks contribute the smallest rates.

A history of deceit

The RBZ has lied on countless occasions in the past. They lied about the reason why they were introducing bond coins, lied about bond notes, lied about not bringing back the Zimbabwean dollar, stole all our USD and left us with RTGS in our accounts. They do not deserve trust, they have earned the well deserved contempt they get over decades.