BANKING institutions operating at Boka Tobacco Auction floors have reportedly been hit by cash shortages leaving farmers in long winding queues as they patiently wait to cash in their cheques, NewsDay has observed.
Report by Tarisai Mandizha
A visit to the auction floor by this newspaper yesterday showed that only three out of 10 banks located at the floors were dispensing cash for tobacco deliveries made by farmers.
Efforts to get comment from the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe were in vain.
However, an employee working at one of the banks who requested anonymity confirmed that no funds had been provided to the branch to pay out the restless tobacco farmers.
Tobacco Industry Marketing Board chief executive officer Andrew Matibiri also confirmed the cash shortages.
“At the moment there is only one bank which has cash and the queues are moving slowly. At Boka there is only one bank, but they will all get paid,” said Matibiri.
He, however, attributed the cash shortages to the Independence holiday today.
A tobacco farmer from Marondera, Shylet Nembawana, said there have been delays in cash disbursement from the local banks since Friday last week.
“We are waiting to withdraw our cash, we came on Sunday and we have managed to sell our tobacco today (Tuesday) and now we are waiting to withdraw cash, but we were told there is no cash at the moment,” said Nembawana.
Another farmer from Masvingo Ratidzo Nyathi said the delays in processes at the auction floors were a cause for concern.
“After spending so much time waiting for our cheques and when the bank cheque is ready you later find out that banks have no money,” said Nyathi.
Boka Tobacco Auction floors chief executive officer Rudo Boka, however, said the delays in accessing cash had little to do with Boka as the auction floor was playing its part to ensure that farmers get their money within the shortest period.
She said the floors were processing close to 20 000 transactions daily, adding that it took two hours to issue out a cheque.
“It takes a bit of time to do the transactions,” said Boka
The TIMB system, Boka said, was made in such a way that for cheques to be finally processed all the deductions were supposed to be done and approvals sought from the marketing body.
She said average Boka processes transaction valued at $1, 2 million daily.