Harare - Zimbabwe’s Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere on Thursday said foreign-owned banks like Barclays, Stanbic Bank and Standard Chartered Bank are free to leave the country if they are not prepared to support its industries.
Kasukuwere reportedly told African editors, who are in Zimbabwe at the invitation of the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum, that the banks were not supportive of the country’s economy.
The NewsDay quoted the minister as saying that the behaviour of banks like Barclays, Stanbic Bank and Standard Chartered Bank is appalling “ and if they want to pack and go they can do that, because they are not of benefit to us”.
“They came with Cecil John Rhodes and still carry his views, yet we are an independent nation and the money they are holding is ours as it comes from our pension funds and farming activities,” he said.
He said the banks must support the agricultural sector and emerging businesses in Zimbabwe.
“We are not saying they should give us money for free, but the financial sector must support the aspirations of Zimbabweans,” he was quoted saying.
Most banks have not been supporting Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector because the new farmers do not have enough collateral.
The farmers also do not have security of tenure, something Minister of Finance Tendai Biti has often said will prevent farmers from developing beyond subsistence farming.
"As long as the farmers do not have securitised leases, then let us forget about agriculture beyond subsistence farming, even if we talk about financing agriculture until cows come home.
"Without security of tenure farmers cannot borrow money from banks to finance their operations. The truth of the matter is that without title and private finance, agriculture in Zimbabwe will continue limping and will largely be subsistence,'' said Biti.