Fradreck Gorwe Business Reporter
Local financial institutions have started rejecting transactions involving hard copies, insisting all payments be made via their Business Online platforms, as the firms move to implement measures that limit human interface to prevent the spread of coronavirus, it has been learnt.
Said Stanbic Bank in a notice to customers: “In the interest of public health and with immediate effect, please be advised that we will only be accepting payments via Business Online.
All other bank instructions and letters must be sent on email and accompanied by the attached email indemnity form, which must be completed and signed by the authorised signatories.”
Another leading bank, Cabs said: “Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, we shall not be accepting hard copy instructions, all communications and instructions to be sent as soft copies going forward. We will advise once it becomes safe for us to accept hard copies. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.”
Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president, Sij Biyam, said efforts were being made to ensure all financial institutions complement Government efforts in ensuring public safety by adopting appropriate conduct.
“We are really sensitive to that issue and naturally would like to complement efforts by the Government in terms of checking on and reduce effects of this pandemic. Some banks have got their structures already dictated to them by their head-offices but we obviously would like to come up with our own. We obviously have to appreciate and go through the regulator. It is going to be a positive issue that we will try together with other private sector players to address,” said Mr Biyam.
Most Zimbabwean companies have taken a departure from traditional ways of conducting business and considered effective utilisation of information and communication technologies to tame the spread of the deadly Covid-19.
The disease reportedly evolved in China’s Wuhan City and has to date claimed over 11 000 lives in many parts of the globe. The effects have extended to business performances across the world and thereby igniting accelerated efforts to limit the spread and seek lasting solutions to the scourge.
To that effect President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a number of measures to limit the spread, while companies have taken hid and went an extra mile to promote new ways of communicating with stakeholders through various technologies.
As part of the measures, gatherings of more than 100 people have been banned, while travels have been either limited or completely banned.
Among other things the airborne disease can spread through close breath with its victims as well as direct contact with those infected.
Contracting group, Mashonaland Holdings, will consider implementing a number of measure to tame Covid 19 at its 53rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) earmarked for the 25th of March at ZB Life Towers.
The company will partner Equity Axis to live stream the meeting to restrict the number of attendees. More so, the initially proposed space for the AGM has been dropped for a more spacious one to ensure proper distancing of attendees.
“In light of the rapidly evolving developments relating to coronavirus (Covid-19) and the social distancing measures being widely implemented, the Annual General Meeting as a gathering of people could pose a risk to the spread of the virus. The company places utmost concern on its stakeholders and, as such, has put in place the following measures to ensure minimising the chances of possible spread of the coronavirus.
“To ensure the recommended social distancing, the meeting will now be held in the spacious 14th Floor, as opposed to the 19th Floor Board Room, ZB Life Towers, 77 Jason Moyo Avenue, Harare.
“The company has partnered with Equity Axis Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd to live stream the Annual General Meeting as a means of restricting the number of non-shareholder attendees. On the day of the AGM the live stream may be accessed using the following link <https://bit.ly/masholdings>,” said the company in a notice.
Live-streaming will possibly be a more effective deterrent compared to the usual use at the venue of hand sanitisers, disinfectants and other materials, although the company will consider these measures too.
Zuva Petroleum has also joined in the fight against Covid 19 through partnering medical experts as well as promoting business conduct within a virtual community.
“The impact of this pandemic requires a change in our business processes to protect our employees, contractors and customers. We are taking steps to provide accurate, up-to-date, informed communications by staying connected to appropriate and reliable resources. Our teams have been encouraged to take advantage of our virtual infrastructure to conduct business by phone and remote (web/video) conferencing tools,” said Zuva Petroleum’s chief executive officer Bethwell Gumbo.
Some of the measures proposed by the company include a ban on travel by employees except for “critical client assignments” and visits for “essential meetings.”