Chapter

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Published Date:
September 2000
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Status Under IMF Articles of Agreement
Article XIVYes.
Exchange Arrangement
CurrencyThe currency of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the Congo franc.
Exchange rate structureUnitary.
Classification
Independently floatingAn interbank foreign exchange market is in operation. Charges or commissions are not assessed on interbank market transactions. In their transactions with customers, commercial banks and financial institutions may charge an exchange commission not exceeding 1 %. The spread between the buying and selling rates for foreign banknotes set by the commercial banks and financial institutions in the foreign exchange market must not exceed 5%.
Exchange taxA charge of 0.2% is levied on any exchange operation of authorized banks.
Exchange subsidyNo.
Forward exchange marketYes.
Arrangements for Payments and Receipts
Prescription of currency requirementsPayments from nonresidents to residents must be made in one of 23 convertible currencies whose rates are published daily by the Central Bank of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (BCC). Residents must make payments to nonresidents in one of the listed convertible currencies or by crediting nonresident accounts in Congo francs or in foreign currency. Settlements with the member countries of the CEPGL and the CEEAC are made in SDRs and through Central African Units of Account (UCAC) accounts established under arrangements concluded by the BCC with the central banks of the countries concerned. Balances on these SDR and UCAC accounts at the end of settlement periods—each quarter for CEPGL countries and each month for CEEAC countries—are transferable into the currency stipulated by the creditor. Virtually all settlements (other than for reexports) with member countries of the CEEAC are effected through accounts with foreign correspondent banks after clearing through the Central African Clearing House through its account with the BCC.
Payment arrangements
Bilateral payment arrangements
InoperativeYes.
Regional arrangementsYes.
Clearing agreementsThere are arrangements with Burundi and Rwanda. Payments are made through the SDR accounts of the BCC and the central banks of the other two countries.
Administration of controlEffective January 9, 1999, foreign exchange transactions must be conducted through the BCC or authorized foreign exchange dealers. The BCC also supervises authorized banks and dealers, and regulates open foreign exchange positions.
International security restrictionsNo.
Payment arrears
OfficialYes.
PrivateYes.
Controls on trade in gold (coins and/or bullion)
Controls on domestic ownership and/or tradeOnly nationals of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are allowed to purchase, transport, sell, or hold gold within the country outside the boundaries of areas covered by exclusive mining concessions. Foreign individuals or corporate persons may do so only on behalf of, and for the account of, authorized marketing agencies.
Controls on external tradeExports of gold and diamonds by authorized marketing agencies do not require prior authorization from the BCC.
Controls on exports and imports of banknotesResident and nonresident travelers must declare their foreign exchange holdings upon entering or exiting the country. Travelers entering the country must deposit their foreign exchange holdings with authorized intermediaries within three days following their entry. They may freely hold means of payment in domestic currency. Travelers exiting the country are authorized to carry an amount of foreign exchange not to exceed $10,000.
On exports
Domestic currencyYes.
Foreign currencyYes.
On imports
Domestic currencyThe importation of banknotes of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is permitted up to the equivalent of $100.
Foreign currencyAn unlimited amount of banknotes and other means of payment in foreign currency may be brought into the country.
Resident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedThese accounts are permitted and may be credited or debited for international transactions without restrictions, may be sight or term accounts, may bear interest, and may be denominated in any currency for which the BCC publishes exchange rates.
Held domesticallyAuthorized banks are permitted to open accounts in foreign currency for residents and nonresidents without prior approval from the BCC.
Held abroadPublic and/or semipublic enterprises may open foreign bank accounts with prior authorization from the BCC.
Accounts in domestic currency convertible into foreign currencyYes.
Nonresident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedThese accounts may be credited or debited for international transactions without restriction. As of June 30, 1999, these accounts may not be in debit position.
Domestic currency accountsYes.
Blocked accountsNo.
Imports and Import Payments
Foreign exchange budgetThere is a budget for imports by the government and the BCC.
Financing requirements for importsNo.
Documentation requirements for release of foreign exchange for imports
Domiciliation requirementsAs of June 30, 1999, importers must obtain a license from an authorized bank.
Preshipment inspectionWith a few exceptions, imports are subject to a preshipment inspection. The amount, the invoice price, and the quality of imports must be verified and approved by the foreign agents of the Control Office of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (OCC); however, in special cases verification may be effected upon arrival, subject to a waiver from the BCC. Verification certificates are not required for import values (f.o.b.) of up to the equivalent of SDR 1,000 a tariff item, or up to $2,500 a shipment.
Letters of creditYes.
Import licenses and other nontariff measures
Positive listYes.
Negative listCertain imports, including arms, explosives and ammunition, narcotics, materials contrary to public morals, and certain alcoholic beverages, are prohibited or require special authorization from the government.
Other nontariff measuresAll goods shipped by sea must be transported on vessels belonging to ship owners who are bonded with the Office congolais du frêt maritime and whose freight charges have been negotiated with that office.
Import taxes and/or tariffsThe customs tariff rates range from 5% to 30%, with a special rate of 5% for some essential industrial imports. The rate of the turnover tax ranges up to 13%.
State import monopolyNo.
Exports and Export Proceeds
Repatriation requirementsExport or reexport proceeds must be repatriated within 30 calendar days from the date of shipment. Proceeds from exports of gold and diamonds must be received at the bank within 10 days after the date of shipment. With exports on consignment, export proceeds must be repatriated as soon as the merchandise has been sold.
Financing requirementsNo.
Documentation requirementsAs of June 30, 1999, exporters must obtain a license from an authorized bank.
Letters of creditYes.
GuaranteesYes.
DomiciliationYes.
Preshipment inspectionAll exports require an inspection certificate issued by the OCC; coffee exports also require a quality certificate from the National Coffee Office.
Export licenses
Without quotasYes.
Export taxesThe export, turnover, and statistical taxes have been suspended.
Payments for Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Controls on these transfersPayments on account of invisible transactions are regulated.
Trade-related paymentsPayment of commissions for representing foreign brand names is regulated.
Indicative limits/bona fide testIndicative limits or bona fide tests are applied to payment of freight, insurance, and commissions.
Investment-related payments
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Payments for travel
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Personal payments
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Foreign workers’ wages
Quantitative limitsTransfer abroad of foreigners’ wages for the preceding year is limited. Transfer abroad of expatriates’ wages is limited to 50% of net wages in the case of new employees, provided that the remaining 50% is adequate to cover local needs.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Other payments
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Proceeds from Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Repatriation requirementsYes.
Surrender requirementsProceeds must be surrendered to authorized banks. A declaration must be made for each transaction. For some operations, proceeds may be credited to a resident foreign currency account.
Restrictions on use of fundsReceipts credited to a resident’s account in foreign exchange are conveyed to the authorized banks as needed by the account holders.
Capital Transactions
Controls on capital and money market instrumentsThere are controls on treasury bill transactions.
On capital market securitiesYes.
On money market instrumentsYes.
Controls on derivatives and other instrumentsNo.
Controls on credit operationsResidents may borrow abroad to invest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Commercial credits
By residents to nonresidentsYes.
To residents from nonresidentsYes.
Financial credits
By residents to nonresidentsYes.
To residents from nonresidentsYes.
Guarantees, sureties, and financial backup facilities
To residents from nonresidentsYes.
Controls on direct investmentBoth outward and inward direct investments are permitted, subject to a license from a bank.
Controls on liquidation of direct investmentThe repatriation of foreign capital brought in under the provisions of the Investment Code is permitted, subject to prior BCC authorization, only at the time of liquidation, nationalization, or partial or total transfer of shares.
Controls on real estate transactions
Purchase locally by nonresidentsYes.
Controls on personal capital movementsPersonal capital movements are unrestricted, generally authorized, and do not require licenses. However, they must be carried out through the banking system.
Transfer of gambling and prize earningsYes.
Provisions specific to commercial banks and other credit institutions
Borrowing abroadYes.
Maintenance of accounts abroadYes.
Lending to nonresidents (financial or commercial credits)Bridge loans require prior consent of the BCC.
Lending locally in foreign exchangeYes.
Differential treatment of deposit accounts in foreign exchangeAs of June 30, 1999, nonresident accounts in foreign exchange may not be in a debit position.
Credit controlsYes.
Differential treatment of deposit accounts held by nonresidentsAs of June 30, 1999, nonresident accounts in foreign exchange may not be in a debit position.
Credit controlsYes.
Open foreign exchange position limitsThe ceiling on the foreign exchange position of each bank is authorized by the BCC.
Provisions specific to institutional investorsNo.
Other controls imposed by securities lawsNo.
Changes During 1999
Arrangements for payments and receiptsJanuary 9. Foreign exchange transactions must be conducted through the BCC or authorized foreign exchange dealers.
Nonresident accountsJune 30. The accounts of nonresidents may not be in a debit position.
Imports and import paymentsJune 30. Importers must obtain a license from an authorized bank.
Exports and export proceedsJune 30. Exporters must obtain a license from an authorized bank.
Capital transactions
Provisions specific to institutional investorsJune 30. The accounts of nonresidents may not be in a debit position.

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