Banks thronged

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Thousands of people have been thronging banks and major shopping outlets in Harare and elsewhere as they make last-minute Christmas preparations, in a move that could trigger panic buying and huge cash withdrawals.

A snap survey by NewsDay yesterday indicated that thousands of people have been swarming banks in search of cash ahead of the holidays that begin tomorrow with Unity Day.

Several people interviewed said they had to endure long hours in banking halls before they could access their money.

“I got here at 6am to join the queue, but already there were many people in the queue,” said Morgan Chirinda outside POSB Causeway branch in Harare. “The challenge is that most people are withdrawing money at the same time ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays.”

But, the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) urged the public not to panic as banks had enough cash to service their needs during the festive season.

BAZ president John Mushayavanhu said there was no need for people to panic and carry huge sums of cash as they risked losing their hard-earned money to criminals.

“Banks have got enough cash,” said Mushayavanhu.
“There is a problem with people wanting to go into the
banking halls to get cash. People should not panic. Your automated teller machine card is also cash and can be used for purchases, but people want to go to a bank teller instead.”

On reports some banks were refusing to honour withdrawals of more than $10 000, Mushayavanhu retorted: “Why would anyone need $10 000 cash this festive season?”