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Bank of Tanzania issues new directives on foreign exchange operations

  • Legal Development 26 August 2020 26 August 2020
  • Africa

  • Finance

The Bank of Tanzania recently issued a circular* to all foreign exchange authorised dealers operating in Tanzania, providing directives on foreign exchange operations to foster macroeconomic stability and safeguard the stability of the financial system in Tanzania. This article provides an overview of the circular and the key directives to be complied with.


Under the Foreign Exchange Act, 1992 (the Act), the Bank of Tanzania (BOT) has mandate to formulate, implement and be responsible for monetary policy, including foreign exchange matters in Tanzania. Section 7 of the Act vests the BOT with powers to make regulations, rules, orders, or directions in relation to foreign exchange in Tanzania. The Circular is issued pursuant to this section.

All foreign exchange authorised dealers operating in Tanzania are required to comply with the Circular effective from 7 August 2020 (the Effective Date).

Directives on Foreign Exchange Operations

The key directives that must be complied with by all foreign exchange authorised dealers, as set out in the Circular, are:

  1. All foreign exchange transactions above USD 250,000 per transaction in the retail market must, at all times, be traded within the interbank foreign exchange market prevailing quoted prices. With respect to transactions of a single customer in a day, these must be summed up for purposes of determining the amount.
  2. Over the next six months (from the Effective Date), the minimum tradable currency on a given quoted price is reduced to USD 50,000 from USD 250,000.
  3. Banks are prohibited from buying foreign currency from exporters with whom they have no account relationship. As such, sale of foreign currency by exporters shall be made through banks which the exporters maintain their accounts.
  4. Trading of foreign exchange in retail markets is restricted to prices quoted by banks and bureaux de change as displayed on boards.
  5. Trading of foreign exchange with international foreign currency brokers who are not licensed in Tanzania is prohibited.
  6. All foreign exchange dealers are reminded to observe Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures in undertaking foreign exchange transactions.

Key Takeaway

The BOT continues to monitor foreign exchange operations in Tanzania with the Circular being issued to further ensure that all foreign exchange authorised dealers are conducting their operations in a regulated manner.

In 2019 the BOT cracked down on irregularities in the foreign exchange sector which, among other things, led to a number of bureaux de change operations being suspended and the subsequent passing of the Foreign Exchange (Bureau De Change) Regulations of 2019. You may find out more about these regulations here.

* Bank of Tanzania Circular no. IA.248/301/01 F.87; 6 August 2020


Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require further information.
This briefing is prepared for clients and contacts of Clyde & Co Tanzania. We aim to keep our clients abreast of developments in Tanzania as they happen and if you have any questions on the issues raised above please contact us directly. Further advice should be taken before relying on the contents of this summary. Clyde & Co Tanzania accepts no responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of material contained in this summary. No part of this summary may be used, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, reading or otherwise without the prior permission of Clyde & Co Tanzania.


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