By Ndafadza Madanha
THERE are high hopes that the move by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to offer a three month amnesty to those who have externalized funds will go a long way in resolving the current liquidity challenges.
The lack of liquidity on the market has spawned long queues at banking halls reminiscent of the hyper- inflationary era and fuelled a three tier pricing regime.
“As a first step towards the recovery of the illegally externalized funds and assets, the Government of Zimbabwe is gazetting a three month moratorium within which those involved in the malpractice can bring back the funds and assets with no questions being asked or charges preferred against them.
The period of this amnesty stretches from 1st December 2017 to end of February 2018. Affected persons who wish to comply with the directive should liaise with the RBZ for necessary facilitation and accounting,” said Mnangagwa.
However, market analysts believe the announcement by Mnangagwa to offer amnesty to those who have externalized funds is a good move that needs to be followed up by sound macro-economic policies by the new regime.
The analysts said multi –nationals in particular were externalizing funds as the previous Mugabe regime was pursuing unsound economic policies hence the high rate of externalisation.
“Money will return and we are talking of billions of dollars that was stashed outside. President Mnangagwa must follow up on this by pursuing sound economic policies to ensure there is recurrence of externalisation.
His statements indicate that there is political will to follow up on those externalizing as there is a paper trail.
I think the President is courteous to ask for those who have externalized to return the money and they should respond positively to his gesture to avoid arrest which I believe will not be in anyone’s interest,” said an economist who spoke on condition of anonymity.
According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Zimbabwe lost US$2b last year with US$1.2b externalized by companies in the form of exports, high management and expert fees.
The findings of the RBZ are buttressed by a report commissioned by the UN which reveals that Africa lost between US$1.2-4 trillion from 1980 -2009 in illicit financial outflows.
Acting finance minister Patrick Chinamasa is on record saying multinational companies are partly to blame for the cash crisis as they externalize funds under indistinct circumstances.
Chinamasa said the multinationals were in the habit setting of up sister companies to provide consultancy services so as to externalize funds, while management fees were spirited to offshore accounts.
Chinamasa said government was working with a number of organizations to capacitate Zimbabwe Revenue Authorities (ZIMRA) to identify avenues used by multinationals to externalize funds.