Zimbabwe says foreigners can repatriate profits despite dollar shortage

HARARE – Foreign investors in Zimbabwe will receive priority to repatriate all their profits and dividends despite a shortage of dollars that has forced the country to limit foreign payments and imports, a central bank official said on Thursday.

Farai Masendu, RBZ deputy director in the exchange control department told an investment conference in Harare that foreign investors, including those on the stock and money markets, would be able to freely send their money abroad.

“Where an investor has declared a dividend and you have a profit remittance that you want to make, in terms of our foreign payments, that receives priority,” Masendu said.

“You are able to remit 100 percent of your profits and dividends.”

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on May 4 set priorities for imports and imposed limits on cash withdrawals in an effort to ease an acute shortage of money.

Zimbabwe has since March faced shortages of US dollars, which it adopted, along with other currencies like the rand and euro in January 2009, replacing its own currency that was ravaged by hyper-inflation, which reached 500 billion percent.

Some mining companies and manufacturers have said the shortages of money has seen banks delaying payments for their inputs abroad, which could affect production.

The central bank earlier this month set up a foreign currency allocation team to decide on which imports and foreign payments receive priority.