Deputy Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Tongai Matutu on Wednesday told Parliament his ministry had no powers to revoke licences from banks which failed to comply with the country’s indigenisation policies.
Matutu was speaking in the House of Assembly while responding to a question by Hwange East MP Tose Wesley Sansole who had asked him to explain government policy over threats made by Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere to cancel licences for foreign-owned financial institutions like Barclays and Standard Chartered banks.
Kasukuwere recently clashed with Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono after he gave an ultimatum to foreign banks and declared Gono was not qualified to decide who gets banking licences.
Gono later described Kasukuwere’s utterances as “irrational exuberance coming from someone who did not understand banking”.
Added Matutu: “First of all, let me point out that the issue of indigenisation has become contentious and to some extent it is getting polarised. However, the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment does not revoke licences, but only enforces compliance in terms of the regulations and, as far as I am concerned, the matter and spirit of that communication was to make sure the relevant banking institutions submit their returns,” he said.
“But, as to whether or not their licences are going to be revoked, I believe that the relevant authority in the form of the Reserve Bank governor has issued a sufficient statement as to whether the licences are going to be revoked.”