Wake up, smell the coffee Chinamasa

via Wake up, smell the coffee Chinamasa January 17, 2014 NewsDay

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, speaking at the just-ended economic outlook symposium in Harare, accused local banks of imposing sanctions on the fragile economy by reducing lines of credit to $40 million from $800 million within the space of a decade. He echoed the Zanu PF mantra of blaming banks and sanctions for the country’s economic woes.

It is ironic that while Chinamasa was busy accusing some financial institutions of sabotage he was not addressing the fundamentals that must be put in place before these financial institutions could release depositors’ money.

It is a fact that whatever money is held by banks belongs to depositors, therefore financial institutions must be prudent in lending it out to their customers. The issue of collateral security is therefore fundamental. But where property rights are not guaranteed it becomes risky to lend money willy-nilly.

Concerning new farmers, banks are wary of the culture where farming is taken as a pastime rather than real business, with farmers spending most of their time in cities far away from the farms.

For the record, Zimbabwe’s economy has had changes between 2003 and 2013, during which period the economy sunk to unprecedented levels. This was triggered by excessive printing of the now demonitised Zimbabwe dollar which led to hyperinflation and the subsequent use of hard currencies to stabilise the economy.

Due to the underperformance of exports, Zimbabwe has since the introduction of multiple currencies recorded a huge trade deficit, worsening the liquidity situation in the economy. Resultantly, banks would not have much for on-lending.

Chinamasa should know better than anyone else how the rising levels of non-performing loans have impacted on the fragile banking system.

Now averaging 15% against best practice of 5%, analysts caution that bad debts could be a time bomb in the financial services sector. So any move to coerce banks to lend more to unproductive sectors or political connections could have far-reaching consequences.

Governemt is taking a lackadaisical approach in engaging the West and courting foreign direct investment. That Zimbabwe is one of the lowest ranked investment destinations clearly is not a result of a conservative lending approach taken by banks, but politics gone bad.

Chinamasa’s attack on banks could explain the casual approach government has taken on the issue of its debt overhang which experts say represents 110% of the gross domestic product.

This debt has worsened the country’s risk profile resulting in local banks borrowing from international capital markets at a higher cost compared to more stable economies.

In light of this, one would expect less rhetoric and more action by the man entrusted to oversee this great country’s Treasury. Zimbabwe can rise again, but sober politicians are required at the Treasury chair.



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    If this Government put it’s act in order and done the things that are needed to be done the with determination of the Zimbawean people the Zimbabwean currency wuold be back in a short time. Chinamsa is saying that he approves of an informal setup in Zimbabwe. The informal sector can only thrive if there is employment cration and the Majority of the population is in work.The Ideginisation program is only good for a country that has a stable Economy. A country in Zimbabwe’s position should be trying to attract investors by offering incentives for them to come here. That would open up the Market for established companies to come in and provide employment.They will want to see roads and railway lines improved so that they can export and import thier reqiuments safely. Fixing the roars and railway links would provide employment for many.You would also need political stability. At the presant time Zanu pf spends most of it’s time damning and cursing the MDC and vice versa.If they spent this tome trying to sort out the economy and getting rid of coruption we would see a little change. The police on the other hand spend their time demanding bribes, stealing money from little girls and arresting opposition members, whilst the criminals roam free. I might seem to have gone off topic a bit but all these things bring about stability. If the situation is stable the banks also gain confidence . If people are in work thier wages are serviced through banks.

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    Oh so at least one Zimbabwean actually goes to the banks! Spelling excused! I do it too!

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    Senzachena 8 years ago

    Why should anybody put their hard earned cash in the banks, knowing full well that sooner or later Chinamasa/Zanu will raid their USD accounts and they will wake up with worthless Z$. As we all know they have done this before and will do it again. Watch this space!

    Until such time as there is a legitimate Government in power, independant judicary, rule of law upheld etc etc. The international financiers will not extend any further lines of credit, people will continue to keep their money under the bed and the businesses will continue to crumble. This of course is of no consequence to CHINAMASA and his ZANU buddies as they have stolen all the money that they need which is in offshore accounts.

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    Panda moyo 8 years ago

    Im just fed up with people who cry for posts and when they fail often dismally they start blaming everyone from banks to sanctions.mr chinamisa is fast following in mr gono s footsteps.