FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube says regional and international airlines operating in Zimbabwe are free to ticket in foreign currency as they are not bound by the recently promulgated Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019.
Minister Ncube said this exemption though it is short term is meant to ensure those legacy debts owed to International Air Transport Association (IATA) does not continue adding up.
At one time last year, some of the airlines withdraw their ticketing services from Zimbabwe demanding that they are paid what is owed to them.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Budget and Finance, Minister Mthuli Ncube said the country already has a legacy debt with the airlines and allowing them to ticket in a foreign currency will help ease the situation.
“When you think about airlines we already have legacy debt and this other day I had Emirates coming to my office saying minister you need to start paying.
We owe South Africa Airways, Emirates, Rwandan Air, Kenya the list is long so we don’t want to add to these legacy debts so we think honouring your tickets in US Dollar will help us manage those debts but again this is temporary.
“As the situation improves and we have access to the foreign currency we will certainly eliminate this position of the instrument,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya took the opportunity advice tourists coming into Zimbabwe that local banks accept all international cards and they need not get worried.
“Payment in international credit cards for tourists the banks in Zimbabwe accept international cards and that if a tourist comes to Zimbabwe and want to change his or her forex into local currency we are putting in place systems to ensure our ATMs in the resort areas will be able to release the local dollar so that they can use them for local purchase that is work in progress,” he said.
Mangudya added that “tourism operators in Zimbabwe can also withdraw money from their FCA accounts for purpose of purchasing requirements so that we don’t cripple those businesses,” he said.