THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has authorised the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) to collect railage charges in foreign currency for exported goods.

NRZ submitted an appeal to RBZ last year seeking permission to be allowed to charge all exporters in foreign currency.

The central bank agreed.

“Please kindly note that in terms of the current exchange control administrative arrangements, where a transporter has shipped goods under the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) basis; the respective transport or railage portion may be received by the transporter in foreign currency,” reads part of the statement signed by NRZ board chairman Martin Dinha, quoting an RBZ letter.

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The central bank also asked NRZ to submit a specific application through its authorised dealers to have the necessary exchange control administrative structure for the arrangement operationalised.

NRZ said charging exporting customers in foreign currency was a welcome and progressive development for it.

“With this approval NRZ can now approach its various exporting customers to inform and familiarise them with this new development,” it said.

NRZ said while it has traditionally been collecting foreign currency from customers who are into export business, the foreign currency generated from this source had not been enough to meet needs for repairing its rolling stock and infrastructure.

“The intervention by the central bank is critical for NRZ considering that foreign currency has been essential in funding the organisation in hiring wagons and locomotives from the region to address resource and capacity gaps, hire interchange, as well as procuring spares and accessories for wagons, locomotives and infrastructure maintenance,” the statement reads.

“And at this juncture, the need for foreign currency for the organisation has become huge and urgent especially to hire locomotives and wagons for the movement of imported grains, to alleviate drought induced shortfalls, among communities in Zimbabwe.”