The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has just told financial institutions that its RTGS platform can now also handle Foreign Currency Account (FCA) RTGS settlements. Before today, the RTGS platform only handled transaction of bond notes but not foreign currency or US dollars. So if a company wanted to move money from one account to another, the company had to use telegraphic transfers which are relatively expensive and take days to get settled.
But with this new arrangement, companies can now also use the RTGS platform to move money in lesser time (RTGS is realtime-based so no more waiting days) and at a relatively cheaper price. In essence the facilitation of FCA on the RTGS makes the movement of foreign currency in the economy more mobile than what it was when companies used telegraphic transfers.
The system hasn’t yet gone live but very soon it will as banks have already been instructed to start testing it. Here is the full text:
CIRCULAR TO RTGS PARTICIPANTS — MULTICURRENCY UPGRADE — ADDITION OF USD ON THE RTGS PLATFORM
We advise that the RTGS platform has been upgraded to include the United States Dollar (USD) to facilitate settlement of USD Nostro FCA transactions. The function is now available in the test environment for testing by participating institutions.
All participants are urged to send test messages end to end and ensure a full cycle of the transaction is completed. Results of the test should be logged immediately on the attached user acceptance testing form and submitted to the Reserve Bank on a daily basis until Friday,01 February 2019.
It is expected that the settlement of USD transactions will commence soon thereafter in the live environment.
Please be advised accordingly.
Deputy Director, Financial Markets Division — National Payment Systems
28 January 2019