Zimbabwe Demands Foreign Banks Give Back to Nation
July 6—Zimbabwe has issued an ultimatum, giving all foreign banks in the country one year to comply with their controversial indigenization program. The program, passed by Parliament in 2007, requires all banks worth at least $1 in value to give a 51% share of their organization to black Zimbabweans.
A foreign bank official, while noting the rhetoric on the matter was increasing, said the measure would be difficult to enforce. “It’s not like any government could just take over a bank—the bank would just shut down, but they don’t want that and we don’t want that, so it’s probably not going to happen,” they explained. “There’s a lack of clarity about what they can do.”
Additionally Gideon Gono, the head of Zimbabwe’s Central Bank, stated Wednesday that the plan—which is being pushed by President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF Party in preparation for elections expected to take place next year—is “devoid of detail and rationality” and contradicts existing law. He said he would discuss the matter with the president further.
Gono, who was appointed to the position by Mugabe in 2003, acknowledged that some companies owned by his family owe several million dollars to some of the banks in question, but denied that he was “protecting” them, saying he does not interfere in any legal process related to the matter.
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