Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa yesterday launched the Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank in Harare where he announced that Government is working on permanent solutions to the current cash shortages.
The bank is the first of its kind in the Sadc region and it will offer loans to women, youths and other small-scale businesses.
President Mnangagwa, who was accompanied by First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa, said the bank laid the foundation for Vision 2030 which entails that Zimbabwe should attain middle-income economy status in the next 12 years.
“I am aware of the cash and foreign currency challenges, which are a result of various reasons,” he said.
“My Government is seized with the matter and will in due course announce comprehensive strategies to conclusively alleviate the problem. Meanwhile, I urge our industry, commerce and SMEs alike to focus on business models that generate foreign currency for the country.”
Although measures were being implemented to address cash shortages, the President implored the transacting public to embrace plastic money.
President Mnangagwa urged the Women’s Bank among other financial institutions to restore depositors’ confidence and to desist from punitive bank charges.
“The bank will therefore, seek to champion women’s financial inclusion through availing g affordable funding options to start their own enterprise,” he said.
“However, as we establish banks like this one, I exhort all players in the financial service sector to make numerous efforts to restore depositors’ confidences as well as develop and offer packages that are in sync with the type of business and personal needs of our society.
“I further encourage the sector to resist temptation of towards exploitative tendencies such as exorbitant bank charges and levies, which in the long term dwindles the market confidence and scares depositors away.”
President Mnangagwa continued: “The setting up of the Women’s Bank is consistent with the provisions of our constitution in promoting inclusivity of women and gender mainstreaming in all developmental programmes in our nation.
“What makes the entry of the bank into the financial services market significant and even more exciting is that it is the first of its kind in the SADC region. Zimbabwe is therefore a torch bearer in this regard. Women in Zimbabwe have acquitted themselves exceptionally well over the last two decades when the nation was confronted by a myriad of challenges which threatened its social fabric.
“Women are the pillars of our families who at times do various jobs to support and sustain families. My Government has made it a priority to ensure that women are supported to participate in mainline economic activities by availing tailor made support facilities for their financial inclusion.
“We are fully cognisant of the reality that sustainable economic development can only be achieved through the full participation and collective economic strength of all citizens including women and the youths.”
President Mnangagwa said good governance and public confidence in banking sector were prerequisites for any strong financial services sector.
H said his call for good governance and leadership styles in the government and its agencies should also transcend into the banking sector.
“I, thus, urge the board of directors, management and staff to prudently, honestly and fairly manage the affairs and fiduciary duties for the good of the banking clients.
“Banks are financial intermediaries which play a pivotal role in the economic recovery process. All facets of our economy thus depend on the thriving money and capital markets which provide necessary concessionary funds to grow our economy.
To this end, my Government is working with various bodies including the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to ensure that all banks are sound, effective and responsive to the needs of the market in line with the desired national economic growth outcomes.”
Some of the senior officials who witnessed the launch of the bank include Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga, Minister of Women, Gender, and Cooperative Development Cde Sithembiso Nyoni, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr John Mangudya and presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba among others.