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‘No to bank grabs’

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Finance minister Tendai Biti yesterday said the government had no role in “grabbing” assets, but should create an enabling environment for locals to set up their own businesses.

Speaking at the TN Bank listing ceremony at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), Biti said the financial institution was an example of how the indigenisation programme must be implemented.
“TN has remained a professional bank. I have so much confidence with TN that I bank with it personally,” he said.

“This is the example of an indigenisation model we want in this country.

“The role of the State is not to grab some people’s assets, but to help people start their own things.
“The role of indigenisation that is proper, is to create an enabling environment such that talent irrespective of black or white, entrepreneurship irrespective of black or white, can flourish and earn bankers’ trust.

“In recent times we have seen, albeit small, a clique of predatory bankers, a small clique of mafia bankers . . . that is totally unacceptable.

Biti’s comments came at a time when foreign banks are under pressure from Indigensiation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere to submit their localisation plans.

TN Bank Limited yesterday listed on the ZSE ending a 15-month dry spell on the local bourse.
A total of 207 298 TN Bank shares were traded at 32,08 cents each the same amount the shares were bought by the bank’s new shareholders Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.

Lifestyle Holdings, formerly TN Holdings, traded at 2,5 cents with 1, 728 million shares exchanging hands.

Lifestyle Holdings chief executive officer Tawanda Nyambirai, ZSE chairman Geoff Mhlanga and more than 40 market players attended the event.

TN Bank chief executive officer George Nyashanu said this was an important step into the future where the bank would provide convenience to customers.

TN Bank has 28 branches and hopes to open a new branch in Mvuma at the end of the month.
“While we have been weaned to run the affairs of the bank outside Lifestyle Holdings, we still benefit and pursue group synergies that have been created and will also pursue new opportunities with the new shareholder Econet.

“Judging by the uptake of Ecocash, we believe the market will take to future products that will borrow from the respective trends of Econet and Lifestyle,” Nyashanu said.

Meanwhile, Biti described the ZSE as a “mafia organisation” due to lack of corporate governance at the local bourse.

“The stockbrokers happen to be the referees, ampires and goal keepers,” he said.
“We are going to force demutualisation. You buy a share and talk to a stockbroker who does not remember that you gave him an instruction.
“We are going to push for that change to create an atmosphere of corporate governance.”
The minister said the ZSE board belonged to the 19th century and Cabinet had approved major changes to the Central Depository Act, which will be gazetted on Friday.
“The Central Depository Act will force the demutualisation of capital markets in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“It’s important that we modernise this stock exchange.”
ZSE chief executive officer Emmanuel Munyuki was suspended last month due to alleged misconduct and incompetence.

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