‘BANK DEPOSITS UP’

The number of people making bank deposits has increased significantly in the past three weeks, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.

President Mnangagwa

The Head of State and Government said a banking culture is important in normalising the cash situation in the country. President Mnangagwa made the remarks while addressing Zimbabweans resident in Angola last Friday.

Zimbabwe has been battling to end cash shortages that began in April 2016 on the back of illicit financial outflows, a huge trade deficit and the lack of a savings culture.

“We have shortage of transactional cash because we don’t print the US dollar,” President Mnangagwa said.

“We only have the US dollar coming through Diaspora remittances, exports we make, bilateral or multilateral transactions and foreign direct investment coming into the country. Those are the sources of foreign currency we have, but the challenge is we have more imports than exports.”

He said the daily updates he was receiving from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe showed an upsurge in the number of people making bank deposits.

“Currently, in the last two to three weeks, things have been improving,” he said. “The queues are reducing and people are getting money on the ATMs and some withdrawing from the banks directly. Things are improving because the atmosphere has become good. On a daily basis, I get to know from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor (Dr John Mangudya) the increases of people now banking. People were not banking (in banks) but were banking under the pillows. A bit of civilisation is coming around and they are banking through the normal banking system.”

Some banks are now dispensing United States dollars, which has been welcomed by depositors.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa said Ziscosteel, which ceased operations in 2008 due to financial challenges, will soon resume operations.

Government has secured $1 billion investment for the revival of the steel giant from R and F company of China.

Last week, President Mnangagwa met the Chinese investors that are willing to revive operations at the steel manufacturer, which is viewed as strategic to the turnaround of the economy.

“With regards to Ziscosteel, we have a Chinese company that has come forward and the agreements will be signed soon,” he said.

“Last week, we had an interaction with the companies that have come in to resuscitate Ziscosteel. We believe it’s on course.”

An initial effort to resuscitate the steel giant through an Indian conglomerate Essar Global collapsed in 2015.

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