Zimbabwe: Baz Mobilises Us$10m for COVID-19 Fight

Zanu-PF supporters at the airport for the return home of Robert Mugabe's body.
17 April 2020

The Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has announced plans to mobilise US$10 million through its members as part of corporates' further contribution to the fight against the deadly COVID-19 global health pandemic.

COVID-19 was declared by World Health Organisation (WHO) as a global health emergency, which also saw Zimbabwe decree the pandemic a national health emergency to activate all systems against its fight.

The novel viral disease, first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has killed three and infected over 20 people in the country.

BAZ president Mr Webster Rusere said in a statement that in their April 2020 meeting, banks resolved to support the national fight against Covid-19 as an association in addition to individual members' initiatives.

"We wish to raise US$10 million as Bankers' Association, which equates to ZW$555 555,56 per member for the 18 institutions," Mr Rusere said.

Banks also agreed on the need to consider provision of foreign currency to cover importation of essential items such as test kits and reagents, with a figure of US$100 000 having been suggested, which equals US$5 555,56 per member institution at US$1 to ZWL$25.

BAZ said this approximates $138 888,89 to be deducted from $555 555,56 in local currency terms.

"It has also been suggested that we identify service providers or agents to furnish us with invoices for items that we decide to donate and effect payment directly.

"Kindly authorise your finance heads to liaise with (BAZ executive director) Sij (Biyam) for payment arrangements," Mr Rusere said.

Meanwhile, BAZ members have been requested to forward a list of donations made or pledges, including the monetary values, to the association for consolidation of the industry's contributions.

A meeting with President Mnangagwa will be facilitated by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development at the end of this week or early next week for contributions and pledges.

Global corporate giants such as Alibaba, Roche and Amazon have joined ongoing global efforts to support the fight against Covid-19.

Zimbabwean corporates have thus not been left behind and have mobilised substantial amounts of money towards the provision of masks, gloves, hand sanitisers and other personal protective clothing.

Telecoms giant Econet Wireless Zimbabwe subsidiary, Ecosure, pledged to provide medical staff with PPEs, life and health insurance and transport to and from work daily, for the next 12 months.

Civil engineering company Bitumen World donated 40 000 litres of diesel to Government for use in the fight against the pandemic.

Themba African Medallion Group (AMG), led by businessman Mr Frank Buyanga, announced a US$5 million financial aid package to Zimbabwe to help the country fight the global pandemic.

The Grain Millers' Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) offered 200 monthly food hampers for two months to medical personnel specifically deployed to deal with Covid-19.

GMAZ also pledged adequate food (maize-meal, rice, flour, salt and sugar beans) to all Covid-19 referral hospitals nationwide for would-be patients for the next two months.

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