7 February 2018

Zimbabwe: Mudenda Slams Banks' 'Colonial Mentality'

Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, yesterday slammed financial institutions for their stringent requirements when opening bank accounts, saying the conditions were not commensurate with President Mnangagwa's thrust to open the country for business.

Adv Mudenda described the tough conditions demanded by financial institutions as "colonial" and a contradiction to Government policy and principle on ease of doing business. He was responding to concerns from Members of Parliament who were complaining that they were struggling to open bank accounts to allow Parliament to deposit money for Constituency Development Fund. The development has seen the bulk of the fund lying idle.

"Our institutions, including banks need to have a change of mindset," said Adv Mudenda. "When His Excellency the President says there is need to open the country for business, what the banks are doing is a contradiction with what the President is saying."

Adv Mudenda said if legislators by their social status in society were being "toasted left right and centre" when they intend to open up bank accounts, the situation could be worse for ordinary people.

"The culture of business by these institutions are still colonial," he said. "I can only say I will talk to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (Dr Godwin Mangudya) and Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president."

Tafara/Mabvuku MP Mr James Maridadi (MDC-T) had said it was taking about two weeks to open bank accounts for CDF, as banks would continue demanding documents.

"There is no single MP here who has opened a bank account in not less than five days," he said. "It is one area that the Minister of Finance (Patrick Chinamasa) must attend to."

Mr Maridadi said each time one submitted the requirements, new issues would crop up.

"They will tell you that the name on the proof of residence is not the same with the name of identity particulars, so can you bring an affidavit and other hosts of requirements," said Mr Maridadi.

The complaint by Mr Maridadi come as several MPs were also struggling to meet requirements set out by Parliament's Committee on Standing Rules and Orders Committee for one to access CDF. Musikavanhu MP Mr Prosper Mutseyami (MDC-T) yesterday appealed to Adv Mudenda to assist. Some of the requirements that MPs should meet is evidence that there was adequate consultation on identified projects.

Constituencies that have submitted their bank account numbers are required, in terms of Article 6 of the CDF constitution as read together with Section 12 of the Accounting Officer's Manual, to submit: list of identified projects, a minimum of three quotations for each project showing the estimated cost of each project, the total estimated cost for all identified projects must not exceed $50 000 and signed minutes of the CDF Committee showing approval of projects.

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