Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporter
BUREAUX de Change are becoming popular among Bulawayo residents as they are slowly eating into the parallel market’s business.
To date, the RBZ has licensed over 46 bureaux de change that are located across the country in a move that has increased the number of participants in the interbank foreign currency market, other than banking institutions.
A snap survey in the city yesterday showed that bureaux de change in Bulawayo are becoming the preferred destination for some people wanting services in a secure environment.
Yesterday newly opened financial services provider and bureaux de Change, Access Finance (Pvt) Ltd, was offering ZWL$10,4 and ZWL$7,4 per United States dollar for electronic transfers and cash transactions respectively. Newly opened Cash 24, run by Halsted Brothers, had similar offerings.
Many people are warming up to bureaux de changes as they feel that they are safer and offer worth-while deals.
Mrs Nobukhosi Moyo who spoke to The Chronicle yesterday after being served at Access Finance said she was happy about the service and it was better than changing money on the streets.
“It is more discreet and safer. There is privacy and I have no fear that there could be someone following me. I used to change on the streets but the problem with that is you could never trust the person you are dealing with. Sometimes forex dealers connive with robbers and you can be robbed of your money soon after changing,” she said.
However, some Bulawayo residents complained that service was slow at the designated forex outlets.
“I know that at the banks and bureaux de changes it is safer but the service is very slow. Too much paperwork for me to just change my money. In the streets it is swift and I do not need to wait until it’s my turn,” said Farai Makuavaza.
Some forex dealers said business was getting less lucrative as they had to compete with banks and bureaux de change.
“It makes it difficult to operate because we have to offer deals that are just as competitive but it is unsustainable. Our major business now is selling cash. If someone wants bond notes in exchange for bank transfer or zipit, we offer the deals at a premium. The average rate is 30 percent but it can go higher or lower depending on demand,” said an illegal foreign currency dealer only identified as Max.
A group of forex dealers operating along George Silundika Street between 10th and 11th Avenues were offering rates higher than the interbank rate but they were not keen to answer questions from the press.
Yesterday, they were offering ZWL$10,60 for every United States dollar for electronic transactions and ZWL$7,5 for cash.
It was not business as usual yesterday for many illegal forex dealers as police cordoned off the area surrounding the Tredgold Courts popularly known as the “World Bank”. — @andile_tshuma.