The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) says banks are currently prioritising exporters for cash withdrawals and foreign currency allocation over individual account holders due to the prevailing cash shortages. Responding to questions at the recently held ZimTrade annual exporters' conference held in the capital, BAZ president Dr Charity Jinya said physical cash - being bond notes and US dollar notes - is in short supply while nostro balances are also running low.
As such, local banks had a mandate to prioritise exporters who oil the economy, ahead of consumptive purposes. This, she said, would enable industry to increase production for the export market.
"For people who are not exporters, the likelihood of getting cash from banks are slim, under the current situation. That is why we are encouraging the use of plastic money When we receive cash, we have to think if we should give it to individuals or companies that will generate more cash and foreign currency. This is a difficult decision we have to take, we have to face the truth, cash is a scarce commodity and therefore it should be rationed. That is why we are encouraging the use of electronic platforms," she said.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing foreign currency shortages since early last year resulting in long queues at banks. This has also led to the mushrooming of illegal cash dealers selling cash in the form of bond notes or the United States dollar at a premium.