Mozambique limits use of credit and debit cards abroad

1 December 2015

The Bank of Mozambique will limit the use of debit and credit cards abroad to prevent outflows of funds, the governor of the country’s central bank said Monday in Maputo.

“We will establish limits on the use of credit and debit cards abroad,” said Governor Ernesto Gove, adding that banks would also be instructed Monday to overhaul their computer applications.

The governor said transactions through credit and debit cards abroad increased from US$300 million in 2012 to US$800 million in 2014 and added that it was commercial banks’ responsibility to explain the new rules on the use of cards to their customers.

Gove referred to the “exceptional situation” that the Mozambican economy is going through, “which implies a change of consumption habits and the import model.”

The dollar, which earlier this year was trading at just over 35 meticais, was Monday being traded at 55 meticais, according to official listings, a decrease of 57 percent, which has contributed to the shortage of foreign currency in the market although the Bank of Mozambique gave assurances it would be able to cover more than three months of imports.

In the week of 23-27 November the Mozambican currency lost 21 percent of its value against the dollar, and the country is being hit by a substantial drop in the prices of some raw materials it exports, such as aluminium and coal.

“The macroeconomic fundamentals are not shaken,” Gove assured, noting that in addition to the decisions already taken in mid-November to review the benchmark interest rates, the central bank would pursue fiscal measures, boost others on a monetary level and maintain supervision so as to ensure inflation remains low and the economy stable. (macauhub/MZ)