President Mugabe Slams Local Banks
HARARE, Zimbabwe – President Mugabe on Thursday slammed local banks for adopting a hawkish culture which is discouraging the public from depositing their money.
The banks are charging high interest rates on loans while deposits are not attracting any meaningful interest, reports Zimbabwean news agency New Ziana.
“I think the people are scared also to have their money in banks for too long,” Mugabe said, adding, “Some banks have not managed their resources honestly and have gambled with people’s monies.”
Mugabe, who was officiating at the launch of the Broad Based Women’s Economic Empowerment Framework (BBWEEF), said the recent economic meltdown which was characterised by hyperinflation, had also added to the distrust in financial institutions.
Meanwhile, Mugabe expressed doubts that sanctions imposed on the country might be lifted soon while bemoaning the effects that the embargo is having on the economy.
Recent reports from the United Kingdom, which engineered the imposition of sanctions on the country by the European Union (EU) and the United States, seemed to suggest that the EU was considering lifting the embargo slapped on the country over a decade ago.
Mugabe said although the political environment in the country had stabilized but sanctions remained in place.
“The environment is affected by sanctions. The political environment is good because the inclusive government has improved it. But we still have sanctions and I do not see the sanctions going away soon,” he told delegates at the launch.
President Mugabe said government’s ability to fund and capacitate women to fully participate in the economy was therefore limited as a result of the poor performing economy.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti announced a reduction of the US$4 billion 2012 National Budget by US$600 million on Wednesday as government coffers run dry on the back of high demand for financial support.
In spite of the challenges being faced, President Mugabe said the government would try to create a conducive political environment for business to flourish.
Mugabe last week told African leaders at the African Union summit that he would want the sanctions removed before Zimbabwe holds its general elections soon.
The sanctions fuelled Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown in the last decade which saw the country experiencing hyperinflation, wiping away the value of the local currency leading to adoption of the use of multi-currencies in 2009.
A date is yet to be set for polls, which are largely expected to be held after completion of the on-going constitution making exercise.
The BBWEEF looks at how women can be empowered in line with the country’s indigenisation and economic empowerment law which aims to give control of the economy to locals. – BERNAMA