The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has banned Zimbabweans who are resident in the country from buying airline tickets for relatives who are based outside the country using the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system. The central bank complained that locals were abusing the RTGS system by buying tickets for people whose flights originate and terminate outside the country. In a directive to banks, the RBZ said that such flights should be paid for using funds obtained outside the country.
Part of the directive reads,
Exchange Control has noted the increase in Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) transactions for the purchase of air tickets through a system called Sold Out Ticketed Outside, “SOTO”. This arrangement entails purchase of tickets by locals through RTGS on behalf of beneficiaries who will be outside the country and whose flights originates and terminates outside Zimbabwe.
In view of the need to efficiently and effectively manage foreign exchange, with immediate effect, travel agents or airlines operating in Zimbabwe shall only make use of local resources to process sales of airline tickets by locals on behalf of beneficiaries whose travel originates and terminates in Zimbabwe. Where the tickets are for flights outside Zimbabwe, funding should be from offshore. Exceptions to this policy shall require prior Exchange Control approval.