Tendai Rupapa, Harare Bureau
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday said disbursement of the $100 million loan facility availed by Britain and the Standard Chartered Bank had started in earnest and that banks were among the first beneficiaries as Government moves to ease cash shortages.
The President revealed this while interacting with women organisations at a Harare hotel.
The meeting was organised by the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe with the assistance of the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Women and Youth Affairs Mrs Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Virginia Mabiza.
The President was accompanied by Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who stood in for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, Minister of Women and Youth Affairs Cde Sithembiso Nyoni and other senior Government officials.
The country has been facing cash shortages manifesting in long queues at banking halls.
“For the first time after nearly 20 years we have received a soft loan from the British of $100 million and the (RBZ) Governor (Dr John Mangudya) has been telling me how he has disbursed the money and as from yesterday almost every single bank in the country had received part of the $100 million,” he said.
“We believe that this will go towards easing cash shortages but not only that, there are so many other sources which I would want the Minister of Finance to best articulate as to how we are fighting the issue of cash shortages.
“We do not delight in seeing our people sleeping on queues for cash. That is not necessary and that is not proper and this is as a result that we do not have our own currency.”
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa explained the genesis of the cash shortages.
“First we do not have a currency of our own. We use a hard currency as a medium of exchange. We use US dollars to import US dollars from the Federal Reserve of the United States and sometimes we decide that instead of importing US dollars we would rather import fuel and electricity using the foreign currency that we have.
The major problem that we have is that the US dollar is the medium of exchange where do we get it? We get it from exports, we get it from diaspora remittances, we get it from lines of credit and Foreign Direct Investments.
“But because of the challenges we are facing we are not getting much FDI as we should and indications are that it is going to improve as we go into the future but currently that is not so,” said Minister Chinamasa.
He said Government was encouraging people to adopt usage of electronic money to ease the cash shortages.
The $100 million loan facility will also assist companies in food processing, manufacturing and agricultural sectors.
The loan will run for three years and can be used for capital expenditure or working capital.