8 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Zhanda Lobbies for Zimdollar Compensation

Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment Mr Paddy Zhanda says he will this year intensify lobbying for the compensation of companies and individuals whose Zimbabwe dollar accounts were frozen in 2009.

"Companies and individuals who had their Zimdollar accounts frozen should have been compensated during the first quarter of 2012," he said.

"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Finance were working together on the modalities. But since the time elapsed, there has been no word on the issue."

He said the situation was also contributing to negative foreign investor perception of Zimbabwe.

Mr Zhanda said the RBZ owed a lot of money to the private sector, as companies and non-governmental organisations lost their savings and were left with zero balances.

"How do you expect people to continue having confidence with the banks when their accounts were frozen? What happens when business loses the trust of its clientele?" asked Mr Zhanda.

"There is an urgent need to address the issue of those quintillions that businesses and some genuine bankers lost when the country introduced the multiple currency system."

He said if the issue was not addressed, there was no way the financial services providers could persuade clients to commit large financial deposits for very long periods.

An economic analyst, Mr Brian Kimbini, said there was need for a co-ordinated approach in restoring consumer confidence in the financial services sector.

"Building transparency and giving good service are also of paramount importance in restoring confidence in the sector," he said.

Another analyst who preferred not to named said consumers now preferred keeping their money at home than banking it.

"The Zimbabwe banking sector is now beset by a lack of trust, resulting in money circulating outside formal banking circles," he said.

Many companies have been filing for bankruptcy since dollarisation in 2009, with the prevalence higher than that during the period of hyperinflation up to 2008.

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