THE Zimbabwe Association of Microfinance Institutions (ZAMFI) has warned the public against falling prey to illegal investment schemes as the country currently has no registered deposit-taking microfinance institutions.
ZAMFI executive director Godfrey Chitambo said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) had by February this year registered 147 micro-finance institutions (MFIs) with none of them authorised to take deposits from members of the public.
“We have been receiving calls from members of the public complaining that they have deposited money with some of our members,” he said at an Institute for Sustainable Africa policy dialogue forum for small business enterprise in Harare recently.
“At one point we even got the person to identify the member and they were registered MFIs. The problem is when they give each other money, they never consult us. When you do illegal things and you want to correct them legally, it’s impossible. I want to make it clear that all MFIs in Zimbabwe are non-deposit taking.”
However, Chitambo said government has since raised minimum capital requirements for microfinance institutions from the present $25 000 to $5 million.
He said the new development would ensure that there were deposit-taking MFIs.
“What will happen is going to be a big development, the traditional MFI only needed $20 000 and now it will need $5 million which will be able to open a lot of investment internally and external,” said Chitambo.
The RBZ has been urging money-lending and microfinance institutions to comply with the minimum capitalisation levels announced in the 2014 monetary policy statement.
Deposit-taking microfinance institutions are currently required to have a minimum capitalisation of $5 million and $10 million by December 31 2020.
Credit-only microfinance institutions (including money-lending institutions) are required at present to maintain minimum thresholds of $20 000 which will gradually increase to $50 000 by December 2020.
“Microfinance institutions are expected to take note and take the necessary steps to ensure compliance with the above-stated minimum capital requirements,” said the RBZ in a recent circular.