Harare, Zimbabwe — 28 May 2012 – The Zimbabwean central bank has ordered the country’s banks to stop processing mineral exports by Impala Platinum’s local unit Zimplats, which it accuses of failing to comply with an order to bank locally.
Reuters reports that a spokeswoman for Zimplats, which is 87% owned by the South African mining giant, told the state-controlled Herald that the directive was unnecessary because the company had complied with the instructions.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono said Zimplats had defied his directive, issued in February, to transfer funds from its offshore accounts to Zimbabwean banks, the newspaper reported.
“Due to failure by Zimplats to adhere with the provisions of this directive, Exchange Control has taken corrective measures to enforce compliance,” the central bank said in a letter quoted by the newspaper.
“In this regard, authorised dealers (banks) are hereby advised to stop processing and facilitating international or any cross-border payments on behalf of Zimplats, and to stop facilitating any exports on behalf of Zimplats.”
Zimplats was not immediately available to comment, but its spokeswoman Busi Chindove told the paper: “We must say we were surprised because in reality Zimplats had no objection to the initial communication by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.”
“To this end, the company is now paying for 75% of its expenditure in Zimbabwe. The remaining 25% relates to foreign loans that were raised with the knowledge, support and approval of the monetary authorities.”
If implemented, the central bank move would paralyse Zimplats exports, which account for 25% of Zimbabwe’s total mineral exports, according to official figures.
Source: Reuters Africa. For more information, click here.