Zimbabwe Sets Up Women’s Bank In September

The setting up of a women’s bank that will provide financial support to small and medium enterprises run by women is now at an advanced stage, a Cabinet minister has said. Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Nyasha Chikwinya told Senate last week that the bank was expected to become operational in two months’ time.

“Our bank is progressing well, but for us to start operations at the bank is not easy because there are a lot of things that need to be done before it can start operating.

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“What we need now is ICT (Information Communication Technologies) that is where the challenge is. Our bank’s headquarters is housed at Trust Towers along Samora Machel Avenue. We are renovating to ensure that we begin working.

“We now have a chief executive officer who is already working. The finance person was recruited and is already working. Recruitment is done by the board, which is their work.

“I want to believe that we will not surpass the month of September before we open our bank. However, it is said that for the ICT programme to be set up properly so that we are all networked from, say, Harare to Masvingo, it takes a period of 90 days and now we are almost midway which means that we are almost finished,” she said.

Minister Chikwinya said rural people would also be catered for by the bank through a partnership formed between her ministry and the People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB).

“POSB is one bank I know which has branches all over the country. While they have closed some of their branches due to lack of business, we requested them to allow us to use them all and we want to work with them.

“Like I said in the Lower House, they will ensure that some of the workers who were with POSB will be reinstated, that is what we have proposed to the board so that instead of just taking over their infrastructure, they can also be employed,” she said.

Responding to a question from Mashonaland East senator Cde Damien Mumvuri on whether men were eligible to get loans from the bank, Minister Chikwinya said only women would benefit from the loans facility.

“Men are not allowed to take a loan; we do not have money to give you. You should visit every other bank for loans but with this one you cannot. Let us use this one to help women who have been disadvantaged all along. This one is a positive discrimination and we are not ashamed of it,” she said.

“We have the issue of financial inclusion, a programme where we find ways and means of injecting money into our bank so that it becomes financially stable. We trust that women will also be depositing their money in there and obtain it from there.”

Minister Chikwinya, however, said men could open accounts and access all other services with the bank but would be restricted on acquiring loans from the bank.

She said the move had been adopted to ensure that the 52 percent of women in the country have the opportunity to access loans.

Minister Chikwinya said the bank would be gender sensitive on providing employment opportunities though high posts would be the preserve of the women.

Source: allafrica.com

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