Zimbabwe reassures nation over cash withdrawals

The Zimbabwean government on Wednesday reassured individual holders of foreign currency accounts (FCAs) that they are still able to withdraw their money in foreign currency despite the ban on use of foreign currencies for transaction purposes.

This follows widespread speculation on social media that such withdrawals are no longer possible. Addressing a post-cabinet media briefing on Wednesday, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa dismissed the reports as false, and insisted that government will not forcibly take away individuals' money in FCAs.

"We have to assure that not much has changed because those who hold Nostro accounts can continue to maintain their accounts. No one is taking away people's money in FCAs," Mutsvangwa said.

Announcing the new the new regulations banning the use of U.S. dollars on Monday, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube pointed out that the regulations do not affect the opening or operation of foreign currency designated accounts, otherwise known as "Nostro FCA accounts", which shall continue to be designated in the foreign currencies with which they are opened and in which they are operated, or the making of foreign payments from such accounts.

Nevertheless, speculation continued to mount on the withdrawal of hard currencies, causing further panic among members of the public.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe also weighed in, and insisted that there had been no policy change on foreign currency withdrawals from individual FCAs.

"Further to our directive, the Reserve Bank wishes to advise that contrary to certain information being circulated on social media, cash withdrawals by individuals are still permissible and the policy position hasn't changed." 

"The current withdrawal limit for individuals remains 1,000 U.S. dollars per day. Individuals are still able to withdraw their cash from their individual accounts and banks are, in line with international best practice, expected to apply the AML/CFT principles," the RBZ said on Twitter.

The Zimbabwe government on Monday announced regulations outlawing the use of foreign currencies for domestic transactions and re-introduced the Zimbabwe dollar as the sole legal tender in a bid to stabilize prices and contain inflation.