World

RBZ clamps down on retail pharmacies

TINASHE MAKICHI

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has launched a blitz on retail pharmaceutical companies that have been defying a directive on disclosures issued in July, Business Times can report.

According to the Bank Use Promotion Act Chapter 24:24, the director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) may issue a disclosure order in writing requiring a trader, parastatal, financial institution or moneylender to disclose to an inspector any of the records kept by the trader, parastatal, financial institution or moneylender.

The blitz has seen a director of Diamond Pharmacy being hauled before the courts for defying a directive by FIU, a unit of RBZ.

According to a document seen by Business Times, as from July 21, 2020 to September 1, 2020, Diamond Pharmacy director George Nyamayaro, for a total of 30 days, failed to comply with a disclosure order issued by the director of Financial Intelligence Unit of the RBZ in terms of the Bank Use Promotion Act Chapter 24:24.

Business Times is informed that retail pharmacies implicated were penalised by the FIU for failure to adhere to the directive on disclosure. Nyamayaro told Business Times “the case was resolved at the courts yesterday (Monday this week).”

FIU acting director Oliver Chiperesa could not be reached for comment.

This publication heard this week that the clampdown on pharmacies is part of RBZ and government’s plan to bring sanity in the sector amid reports players have been charging in foreign currency but eventually remitting Value Added Tax to the government in local currency.

Sources at the Treasury say most pharmaceutical companies across the country have been charging in foreign currency but issuing out receipts in local currency.

The blitz also comes at a time some pharmacies are charging drugs at a rate of around 100% to 120% against the auction rate of around 82.3%.

The value of Zimbabwe’s pharmaceutical market is unknown ranging from $200 million to $500 million but what is known is that over $400 million worth of drugs are imported into the country annually.

Most of which are basic drugs of which 75 percent could be locally manufactured with any surplus exported into the region.

The latest target on pharmaceuticals comes after President Emmerson Mnangagwa has vowed to take the war to the country’s “political detractors, elite opportunists and malcontents” who are pushing a nefarious agenda to cause regime change as the revolutionary party tackles the economic challenges that the country is presently facing.

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