Chamber wary of currency exchange abuse

With the bilateral currency exchange agreement between the Namibian and Angolan central banks in full swing, the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) expressed its concern over the potential abuse by some businesses and individuals.

The bilateral agreement between the two central banks makes provision for the commercial banks and foreign currency exchange bureaus to accept Angolan currency and exchange it for the Namibia Dollar.
According to NCCI CEO Tarah Shaanika, the agreement does not allow for any individual or business entity apart from authorized financial institutions such as commercial banks and bureaus de change to accept and exchange Angolan Kwanza for Namibia Dollar.
“Any such person or business entity which exchanges the Angolan Kwanza is doing so illegally and may face some serious consequences,” he added.
“The Angolan Kwanza is not legal tender in Namibia nor is the Namibia Dollar legal tender in Angola. Therefore, no one is allowed to purchase goods and services in Namibia using Angolan Kwanza,” he said.
Shaanika said Angolan nationals and businesspeople who want to purchase goods and pay for services in Namibia may bring Angolan Kwanzas along but are required to first exchange such Kwanzas at designated and legally authorized financial institutions such as commercial banks and exchange bureaus and only then can they use the Namibian currency to purchase goods and services in Namibian shops.
Shaanika urged all businesses to ensure that all currency exchanges at Oshikango are done strictly within the framework of the bilateral agreement.
According to Shaanika, the NCCI will engage the Bank of Namibia to address any challenges experienced by businesses in the implementation of this arrangement or any other activities that may have a negative impact on the local economy.
Meanwhile the central bank, Bank of Namibia said commercial banks and Bureaus de Change at the border town of Oshikango are only allowed to exchange a maximum of 500,000 Kwanza into Namibia Dollar per day.
The central bank has pegged the official exchange rate at one Namibia Dollar equalling approximately 10.8 Angolan Kwanza. As per the current exchange rate 12.42 Namibia Dollars equals one US Dollar.
The currency conversion agreement between the Bank of Namibia and Banco Nacional De Angola at Oshikango and Santa Clara in Angola took effect on 18 June 2015.