Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
THE ban on bank lending does not apply to marketable commodities, which include tobacco, cotton, sugar and maize, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), has said.
The clarification follows pronouncement of corrective monetary measures by President Mnangagwa last weekend, which are meant to promote the use of the Zimbabwe dollar while disincentivising usage of the United States dollar.
The interventions are broadly meant to stabilise the exchange rate, and reining in on rising inflation experienced in the past months.
Lending by banks to both Government, individuals and the private sector was temporarily suspended, while cash withdrawals for amounts above US$1 000 will now attract a two percent levy.
Following the announcement, several firms including Meat processor, Surrey Group and sugarcane milling giant Tongaat Hulett, had told their stakeholders that they are no longer in a position to offer credit terms as they cannot access credit facilities from financial institutions.
They also cited the rapid depreciation of the local currency.
However, the central bank has since clarified the implication of temporal measures.
“Suspension of lending facilities does not apply to marketable commodities such as tobacco, cotton, sugar, maize, etc. All banks have been advised accordingly,” the central bank on its official Twitter account.
In announcing the new set of policy measures, President Mnangagwa blamed speculative borrowing for causing currency instability.
“Lending by banks to both the Government and the private sector is hereby suspended with immediate effect, until further notice,” President Mnangagwa said.