‘Cash crisis may speed up financial inclusion’


AN estimated 7 million of the population is economically active, a situation which favours the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS), a credit reference bureau Financial Clearing Bureau (FCB) has said.



In the first quarter report of 2016, FCB managing director, Alan Goodrich said the NFIS presented a huge business opportunity for the credit reference bureau.

“If the business opportunity that the NFIS represents is huge for FCB as an institution at the epicentre of economically empowering the estimated 7,18 million economically active adults in Zimbabwe by establishing their financial identities and assisting the transition from informal to formal financial services, then the macro-economic opportunity for Zimbabwe, as a whole is even greater,” he said.

NFIS targets increasing the overall level of access to formal financial services within the country to at least 90% by 2020 from 69% in 2014, and to increase the proportion of banked adults to at least 60% by 2020 from 30% in 2014.

“Given the current, so called, cash crisis and the resulting pressure on the informal sector and those
formally employed to open bank accounts, if they have not already; it is quite likely that the above targets (NFIS targets) could be met even by the end of 2016. So the cash crisis may have a silver lining, but it should not distract us from the fundamentals that will make financial inclusion a sustainable success,” Goodrich said.

The estimated economically active persons are 49,57% of the population.

The economically inactive population is burdened with low employment opportunities, an average of a $1 for meals, and an on-going cash crisis that is affecting all sectors of the economy.

Meanwhile, FCB’S database recorded a growth of 30 639 in their database to 2,58 million from last year’s 2,54 million.

“Intellectual arguments need to be separated from political ones and the initiatives required to achieve a conducive economic environment, once articulated, can then surely guide and steer policy. Ordinary people will appreciate the leaders that adopt and implement economic policies that best empower the populous,” Goodrich said.

“Creating an economic environment that, in turn, will improve financial literacy, restore confidence in the financial system, and stimulate investment in appropriate infra-structure and branch networks, while leading to a supportive policy and regulatory framework that protects consumers and enables more robust credit information systems.”