BAZ, govt in fresh talks over bank charges


THE government has engaged banks over high bank charges which it says are threatening its thrust for financial inclusion.

Bank charges have been a controversial topic for a long time, but it appears both the Central Bank and government have been failing to come up with a position.

While making a presentation in Parliament last week, Deputy Finance minister Clemence Chiduwa accused banks of playing a role in the current economic chaos.

“The bank charges being levied by our financial institutions are high. Even if we look at the performance of our banks, above 84% of their profits come from bank charges and we have engaged the banks and the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ). The major reason they gave us was that most of their solutions are imported.

“We have implored BAZ to say let us try to ensure that the solutions that we use in Zimbabwe are local solutions. At the moment we cannot direct them to reduce the bank charges but what we are saying is that collectively as BAZ, they need to re-look at their charges so that they are in line with the market.

“This is basic economics because the interest rate is supposed to follow the inflation rate. At the end of the day, what investors want is to ensure that they will get a positive return. As the inflation rate moves, the interest will also move in tandem but for this particular case in Zimbabwe, what we wanted was to nip the speculative bubble that was there.”

Chiduwa said people were borrowing money in order to fund parallel market activities.

 Efforts to get a comment from BAZ chief executive, Fanwell Mutogo were fruitless as his phone went unanswered.

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