INTERNATIONAL money transfers received by money transfer agencies (MTAs) and formal banking channels declined by 15% to $1,8 billion last year due to a rise in remittances sent via informal channels.
Presenting the monetary policy statement last week, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) acting governor Charity Dhliwayo said money received through MTAs and formal banking channels has declined significantly while a substantial amount of Diaspora remittances continue to be transmitted through informal channels.
“Toward this end, work is currently underway to come up with appropriate facilities to effectively harness diaspora savings for the development of the
domestic economy,” Dhliwayo said.
She said RBZ was being guided by the 2014 National Budget in order to tap into Diaspora resources.
Dhliwayo added that the deterioration in the external sector position was due to lack of balance of payments support that further amplifies liquidity shortages obtaining in the economy.
“This has a constraining effect on banks’ ability to mobilise and avail credit to the productive sectors of the economy, thereby dampening economic growth prospects,” she said.
According to the 2014 budget statement, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said most countries in the world, including Zimbabwe’s regional neighbours, were benefiting immensely from financial transfers by their nationalities in the diaspora.
Chinamasa said Zimbabwe has a large part of its population living in the Diaspora and these were eager to contribute towards the development of their country.
“. . . The full statistics on Diaspora remittances and other contributions have been difficult to verify due, in some cases, to the informal channels of remittances used, many households survived on these remittances during the period 2002 to 2009,”Chinamasa said.
“Many Zimbabwean professionals, artisans and other skilled persons who left the country, and may not return soon, still want to invest and contribute to the country’s development process.”
He said during January to November 2013 Zimbabwe received $1,6 billion in remittances from the Diaspora.
Chinamasa said in order to harness the Diaspora market the government would formalise the platform for dialogue with the Diaspora through engaging the Zimbabwe Diaspora Home Interface Programme.