§ 2.51 p.m.
§ The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the response during the Foreign Secretary's visit to Africa of the Government of Zimbabwe to representations concerning the curbs imposed by that government under the provisions of their foreign exchange controls.
§ Lord Trefgarne
My Lords, during his visit my right honourable and learned friend stressed once more the difficulties which the exchange controls can cause, and asked that as the Zimbabwean economy improves greater flexibility should be shown both for company remittances and for individual hardship cases. In reply the Zimbabwean authorities made clear, as they have done in the past, that their present restrictions reflect a real shortage of resources, but confirmed that if the economy improved sufficiently they would consider some relaxation.
§ Lord Gridley
My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for that Answer, can he be more specific? Can he confirm a report published in the Daily Telegraph 7 on 14th January that, when my right honourable and learned friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary visited Zimbabwe, he specifically brought to the attention of that Government the sufferings of various people who are former residents of Zimbabwe and are now living in the United Kingdom? They are the people who are now suffering under the foreign exchange controls operating in Zimbabwe.
Is my noble friend the Minister aware that it is still impossible for any person who was formerly a resident of Zimbabwe to transfer capital which he may have earned and which remains in that country? It is impossible to transfer such money to Great Britain. Furthermore, is my noble friend aware also that pensionable emoluments are being progressively reduced monthly? That is the present situation.
§ Lord Trefgarne
My Lords, I am aware that there are constraints such as those which my noble friend has described, although I do not believe that the extent of such difficulties is as great as some people imagine. If there are any specific cases which my noble friend would like to draw to my attention, then naturally I will see if they can be examined. I can say that the Zimbabwean authorities are prepared to consider specific cases where genuine hardship exists and where a proper need can be demonstrated.