Harare - A Zimbabwean minister said on
Wednesday the government is worried about high bank charges and
interest rates, in some instances as high as 40%, levied by some of
the country's commercial banks.
"Government is concerned with the
issue of high lending rates and bank charges," said acting
Finance Minister Gorden Moyo.
"When they (industry) come to you,
you charge them 40% interest rates. Surely you know it, when you
sleep at home, you actually know it, it's not right," Moyo told
bank chiefs at a meeting in Harare.
"What is happening in this country
is unacceptable," he said.
Moyo also expressed concern at the
collapse of banks following the recent closure of a locally-owned
Royal Bank, shut down due to a liquidity crunch and bad management.
"We are concerned about the issues
of corporate governance, we want a moral climate to exist in our
banks. Let's follow the normative values of running financial
institutions," said Moyo.
Some of local banks have shareholders
doubling as directors and chief executive officers who were awarding
themselves loans that were not repaid.
"The issues of owner-managers are
issues that we have in mind, they need to be rectified," he
Zimbabwe's central bank chief Gideon
Gono last month said the country's economy remained fragile with low
export earnings, lack of credit lines or foreign direct investment
resulting in the liquidity crunch.
Moyo said the government endorsed the
central bank's new directive for banks to increase minimum capital
requirements by about 1 000% to $100m.
"We are expecting all of you to
comply," he told the bank bosses.
Banks have two years to raise the
capital, but must by year-end have doubled their current capital
He said the new move was aimed at
consolidating the banks and growing the sector.
"This policy should not suffocate
the indigenous bank, it should help the indigenous bank to grow."
Moyo said the policy is part of the
government's economic blueprint to push for growth in the economy
after years of decline and world-record hyperinflation that ended
only when the country switched to using the US dollar three years
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