According to reports, the RBZ is struggling with a 10-week foreign currency backlog as it continues to struggle with the backlog that stems from auctions conducted earlier this year when the central bank auctioned foreign currency it did not have in its coffers. This has reportedly left a lot of companies in a state of financial peril as they are now finding it hard to restock while some are running out of essential working capital.

Sometime in January and February, we were expecting to get forex from Zimplats and Mimosa through their exports but the giant platinum players held on to their money and this hit us hard.

William Manhimanzi RBZ director of financial markets

Essentially most of the problems that the bank is dealing with right now stem from the fact that the RBZ sold foreign currency it did not have. They assumed they would be able to get foreign currency from Zimplats and Mimosa but that did not happen. It is telling that these two seem to be the main sources of foreign currency for the RBZ. Thanks to a rate that remains far behind the unofficial market rates not many people are willing to supply the RBZ with their hard-earned foreign currency at a sub-economic rate. The result has been that the bank has been running out of foreign currency a lot thanks to the lack of diverse sources.

Businesses breathe fire

Businesses have demanded their dues since they have already paid the central bank money for the foreign currency they are yet to receive. The RBZ backlog currently stands at a whopping US$150 million. As long as the central bank continues to conduct auctions even when it does not have money that backlog will continue to grow. The best option right now would be to clear the backlog and just abandon the auction system. It is no longer needed given the fact that we now have a willing buyer willing seller system.