via New deadline for financial inclusion | The Sunday Mail 13/03/2016
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has instructed all banks and financial institutions to submit board-approved financial inclusion plans by the end of March as monetary authorities strengthen their intermediary role in economic development.
Initially, the apex bank had set December 31, 2015 as the deadline.
Financial inclusion refers to the delivery of a wide range of financial services at affordable costs to the majority of the population.
Experts say financial inclusion helps improve banking sector stability by restoring confidence in the system through making financial resources accessible.
RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya told The Sunday Mail Business that all banks should comply with the directive by March 31 this year.
“Local banks have not yet fully complied with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe directive to submit their financial inclusion plans, approved by their boards but we have given them up to March 31 to submit all their paperwork after that we will take action accordingly.
“Most of the financial institutions have submitted their financial inclusion plans and others are still to comply but we are urging all financial institutions to comply to enable inclusivity in the financial sector.
“It ensures that a wide range of financial products and services are accessible to meet the unique needs of low-income groups at affordable cost.
“It further mitigates the exploitation of vulnerable segments by usurious lenders by facilitating easy access to formal credit,” said Dr Mangudya.
Monetary experts say if banks adjust their policies to suit the market, they will be able to both efficiently allocate productive resources and reduce the overall cost of capital.
The RBZ indicated that it was not going to review the deadline as financial institutions had been given ample time to put their houses in order.
Banks are expected to play a key role in local economic growth and the successful implementation of Government’s blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.
In addition, banks are also being urged to implement tailored educational programmes for their customers to increase financial literacy.
Pooling depositors and savings is crucial for the financial system as it helps facilitate economic growth and macro-economic stability.