IT’S quite refreshing that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has lived up to its promise by publicising names of all beneficiaries of its foreign currency auction system as a way of promoting transparency and accountability.
The era of sweeping public issues under the carpet is over.
Public institutions and servants must remember that they are required to make regular feedback to their ultimate employer — the public — especially on matters involving financial resources and governance.
Once appointed to run key offices, bureaucrats often tend to quickly forget that they are accountable to the people who would have given them stewardship of State agencies. They ought to appreciate that the purpose for their being in offices is a public call of duty rather than a narrow expectation of primitive accumulation.
We applaud the RBZ for this latest move to issue regular public updates about who has received funding from the foreign currency auction system.
Millions of United States dollars are exchanging hands on that platform, so it is worthwhile that the public is made aware of who has received what and for what purpose.
Giving the public a glimpse of what is taking place beyond those lofty buildings is important because, as it stands, the foreign currency auction system has become the only reasonably priced source of funding in Zimbabwe and could, therefore, be easily manipulated.
We, therefore, urge the RBZ to scale up monitoring systems to ensure the funds obtained from that platform is put to good use to manage inflation and curb incidences of money-laundering.
Companies have been applying for this money to buy raw materials and machinery, import drugs and fuel. But it goes without saying that many of these claims can be false. A lot of the money procured can go to line individual pockets.
The central bank must ensure that the money doesn’t end up feeding the black market as was the case with past similar schemes.
Chances are beneficiaries might be tempted to “invest” the foreign currency on the parallel market for quick and higher returns. So RBZ must increase surveillance.
Zimbabwe has no shortage of individuals who have accumulated personal wealth through daylight robberies from such “opportunities” such as this RBZ forex auction floor — and many go about bragging openly about it. It is such greed that has dislocated this country.
We encourage the RBZ to put its foot down and clamp down on any such nefarious activities to safeguard the economy against plunder. The forex that is available in the country must go to production and ensure the creation of jobs — not to stash the pockets of criminals that treat our country as a safe haven for illicit deals using its resources and then discard it once it falls apart.