The Zimbabwe government will not raid foreign currency accounts (FCAs) held by organisations and individuals despite a crippling shortage of hard currencies, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said on Tuesday, 2 October 2018.
Ncube told journalists after a cabinet meeting that all FCAs would be ring-fenced to encourage organisations and individuals to bring in much-needed foreign currency.
He said the FCAs are safe because they are kept offshore, with local corporates and individuals only having access to mirror accounts on the domestic banking sector.
The minister was responding to speculation triggered by the announcement by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya on Monday that the central bank plans to separate local and foreign currency bank accounts as part of measures to ease the shortage of US dollars.
Restive Zimbabweans who feared a repeat of the situation when the RBZ raided FCAs at the height of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis in 2008/09 received the announcement with some trepidation.
Ncube said he would not allow the raiding of FCAs to “happen again under my watch”.
He assured holders of FCAs that they would have access to their funds at banks on demand.
Zimbabwe is sliding back into an economic crisis, with the RBZ struggling to allocate foreign currency for fuel imports, a development that is fuelling a thriving black market for US dollars and other hard currencies.