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Harare - Zimbabwe's central bank says it is enforcing tougher rules to rein in “the delinquent behaviour” of businesses holding cash abroad.

The Reserve Bank said Monday that US360 million in export proceeds were being kept offshore, worsening acute cash shortages in the nation's “prevailing liquidity crunch”.

It said companies not repatriating their foreign cash within 90 days of earning it would be red flagged in “investigations to bring the culprits to book”.

In the past, breaches of exchange control rules generally carried a penalty of heavy fines.

The central bank acknowledged that the collapse of many long established industries led in 2012 to an over reliance on imported goods.

Zimbabwe spent US7.4 billion on imports last year but earned only US3.8 billion from all of its exports, the bank said. - Sapa-AP