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New Perm Sec For Ministry Of Finance Believes Non Exporters Have No Right To Demand USD From Banks

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We first published this on the 31st of August 2017. A year later, the then Barclays Zimbabwe CEO, George Guvamatanga is now the newly appointed Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. We are republishing this post because of the significance of that shift in events.

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Anyone who doesn’t export has no right going to their bank to demand their money in cash, said Barclays CEO, George Guvamatanga recently. The Barclays Zimbabwe chief was speaking at the Mobile Money and Digital Payments conference in Harare where he was commenting on the ongoing cash crisis in Zimbabwe.

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Earlier, Guvamatanga had questioned why people are making long queues at banks to withdraw cash instead of using plastic money. Asked by a member of the audience why he was ‘criminalising’ the act of collecting one’s cash from the bank, Guvamatanga explained that it didn’t make sense for Zimbabweans who aren’t exporting anything to expect cash at their banks.

Here’s what he said (edited for brevity):

Let’s face something here, you cannot have something that you have not created. We have to understand that when you want the US Dollar, you need to have exported. Farmers and small scale miners should get all their money in cash because they have exported. A civil servant cannot go to the bank and demand all their money in cash because he has exported nothing.

…Same applies to me, if I’m working here and I get my money  credited to my account, I cannot go to the bank and demand all of it in cash. We have to understand that for us to have that cash, someone should have exported.

If you have not exported, all you have is your RTGS money. Use wipe! Use EcoCash. Use Telecash. Because you have not exported. The money cannot just appear from nowhere.

…We can’t continue saying “.it’s my money it’s my money”. Yes, it’s your money but it’s RTGS… That reality we should face it as Zimbabweans otherwise we have a problem.

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George GuvamatangaEcoCashTelecash

George Guvamatanga is a senior civil servant and the current Permanent Secretary In the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in Zimbabwe. He is the former Managing Director of Barclays Zimbabwe. He was also the president of the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ). Read More About George Guvamatanga

EcoCash is a mobile money transfer facility which is run by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. The facility has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception and is arguably the largest mobile money transfer agent considering the huge sums of transactions that the platform is said... Read More About EcoCash

Telecash is a mobile money transfer facility that is provided by mobile network phone operator, Telecel Zimbabwe. The product offers great convenience to customers by allowing them to send money across all networks and make payments. When the product was launched, it was said that... Read More About Telecash

49 thoughts on “New Perm Sec For Ministry Of Finance Believes Non Exporters Have No Right To Demand USD From Banks

    1. Not hogwash but simple truth!
      Banks tried to resist mixing bond notes with US$ account but were vetoed out by the laws of the land.
      Most people were refusing bond notes, but they failed.
      When bond notes were introduced the reality was on the ground – our nostros are dry – against wich we get hard notes.
      Where do we expect Barclays to get hard currency from.
      the guy said including HIMSELF and all others have no right to claim hard currency from banks as it stands.
      The problem simply point to the usual culprit, our leadership not some banking CEO.
      People being emotional coz they are not getting cash. There is no money in our nostro accounts ( this must be public knowledge by now). The virtual electronic money icirculating in Zim is not fully backed by real US$, therefore no hard currency can be obtained from abroad to give people. People lets think of our electronic cash and bond notes as some currency different from the real US$ as we know it. You can’t buy cars from Japan anymore with electronic cash, therefore the reality is its not US$. Of farmers, panners etc its still gold and tobacco are mostly exported – hence bring the much wanted forex, whose hard curreny can be obtained

      1. The reason some of us are emotional is that we deposited REAL US Dollars to begin with. How can he say we have no right to demand USD. At Dollarization in 2009 I had a Zim$ account which had several hundred trillion dollars which became something like $5, but since 2009, all USD deposits have been REAL dollars. If we had another currency then it would be understandable.

  1. If everyone is in the private sector who will process those exports? All exports coming due to indirect labor of the Civil service

  2. and this is the calibre of men who are leading our country and institutions! Ladies and gentlemen, we are terminally screwed! Has he no appreciation of the multi-dimensional and distributed nature of a nation’s economy? I provide equipment and support services to the ame farmer and miner, payments for which could have gone to a foreigner trader, and I have no RIGHT to access the money earned? Explain to us why we have not a currency then. When we were depositing our USD since 2009 from where did you think they came? We were quite happy trading with our Zimbabwean dollar till you decided to play casino with our economy with your bearers checks and what not!

  3. Is this guy on LinkedIn? I think a debate about his business ethics should be discussed on that platform .

    1. Seems, the brief bit that he did Sec education in Kambuzuma is all. There is nothing else after that. I understand he was a great dealer at Barclays and he has made some money for himself, which is great but not equivalent to having a tertiary qualification which can add some science to how you perform your admin & mngmnt functions etc instead of fembera fembera.

  4. Cash has nothing to do with exporting. If I deposit $10,000 today, tomorrow I should be able to go and ask for cash. But, if I do, I can only get $50. RTGS is just meant to simplify banking. The idea was, if the person receiving the cash is going to end up putting it in a another bank, just transfer it. Rather than move around physical cash, reducing risk.

    Such faulty thinking is what has ruined banking for the customers. The banks themselves are making killer profits from zero work. The cash fueling the black-market comes directly from the banking system, http://www.herald.co.zw/stanbic-staffer-in-illicit-currency-dealing/ . Mr. Guvamatanga’s constant comments about the economy always pivot the blame on the citizens expenditure/behaviour whilst steering clear of the government and bankers contributions to the problems. From history, these vocal “spokespersons” generally have hidden ambitions/agendas.

  5. To think this guy is a banker of many years is really sad. He is not a good marketer of use of plastic money at all. I am sure the new shareholders will ensure he vacates the position he occupies right now. You see a lot of guys who occupied these positions around the hyper-inflation period have no slightest idea of how to run an economy hence such bizzaire comments.

  6. Come to think of it !!!!! This is why Baclays Zimbabwe was sold to a Malawian company. Its manned by fools and ignorant people.

  7. Very cockeyed reasoning, if I may call it that. Banks hold deposits on behalf of account holders. When the account holder wants to withdraw cash he/she has every right to her/his money period. I don’t know why swiping has to be lauded as if it’s a religion. POS devices have been in existence in this country since the mid-nineties. We have always used them whenever it is convenient. …. and sometimes the damn things don’t work!
    No-one should be forced to swipe – it should be optional. Does every trader have a POS device? Market women, those who sell gas, commuter transport operators etc??. This chap is criminalizing cash withdrawal why? To get super profits?
    My money is MY money George, whether you like it or not. I am not responsible for the stupidity of the current government or it’s policies.

  8. Maybe what he is trying to say is that the government is not remitting actual money to the banks for civil servants salaries. Its like a virtual transaction which is not supported by actual USD.

  9. All is well George, care to explain where all the cash with money changers in the streets is coming frm?

  10. Foreign currency is legal tender, simple. In a democracy people choose what form of legal tender they want to paid in, simple.

  11. How did Barclays Bank end up with such aperson in that position? Who appointed this dude? He opens his mouth to just spout pure drivel that adds no value to his organisation. He loses absolutely nothing by keeping his mouth shut. His overgrown sense of self importance makes him think he is wiser, smarter and more important than his supposed customers. Remember he is the samguy who arrogantly asked why customers would need to withdraw more than the imposed limits. Could this be why the British decided to off-load the thing on the Malawians? He is continually tarnishing the name of Barclays Bank and I wish the new guys the best of luck as he drags their new bank through the mud for no reason. Education is not a cure for stupidity. Stupidity is a natural talent and here it has busted through the ceiling, shot into the sky and is fast approaching the stars while all the while gaining speed.

  12. What he is trying to point out is that we now have two currencies RTGS and USD and the Government is forcing us to accept them as the same!! The USD is being generated by the exporters and RTGS by the locals driven by the government. One needs background info on the monetary system as it is operating here in Zimbabwe to better understand this.

    1. Very true!, people being emotional coz they are not getting cash. There is no money in our nostro accounts ( this must be public knowledge by now). The virtual electronic money icirculating in Zim is not fully backed by real US$, therefore no hard currency can be obtained from abroad to give people. People lets think of our electronic cash and bond notes as some currency different from the real US$ as we know it. You can’t buy cars from Japan anymore with electronic cash, therefore the reality is its not US$. Of farmers, panners etc its still gold and tobacco are mostly exported – hence bring the much wanted forex, whose hard curreny can be obtained

  13. Hrs basically just admitted that the rtgs and USD Dollar are not equivalent… And he’s right… Furthermore more if I don’t want to keep my money in the bank please bring cash to my work place and I’ll take it home… These banks have been making millions in profit because of ludicrous bank charges…. Then they think they can lend my money and collect the interest… The only reason I was forced to open a bank is account is to receive my salary otherwise I lived peacefully without then fit 26 years

    1. You caught onto something most of the other commenters missed out. Although poorly delivered, his dig is directed towards the Government/RBZ and not towards his bank’s client.

      If you have not exported, all you have is your RTGS money.

      I think this is the first time anyone has officially repudiated the RBZ’s claim that the bond note is 1:1. As a matter of fact, there are now 3 types of money in Zim: USD , bond note and imaginary RTGS money that magically appears in civil servants accounts on pay day. This is the money he’s saying can’t be withdrawn because it is not the US dollar.

  14. Whatever this guy is smoking he should stop immediately, least expected from a whole President of bankers who should know better

  15. Using plastic money might not be a problem but the problem is the challenges with the network as well as the bank charges.! They are making money out of us. In SA banks charge more for cash withdrawal than swipe and some card transactions are close to zero charge thats why they prefer use of plastic money. Plus their system is very efficient. You won’t be debited twice for a declined transaction and wait for a whole month for that transaction to be reversed! That is why we prefer withdrawing our earnings…

    1. Yeah we are hearding for more problems in as far as cash is concerned. It’s like civil servants are not important at all. Their services deemed second class. It’s not fair

    2. Yeah we are hearding for more problems in as far as cash is concerned. It’s like civil servants are not important at all. Their services deemed second class. It’s not fair

  16. Childish thinking, seems is a very typical way of thought these days in Zimbabwe. Maybe Mr Mugabe’s educational drive in the 80’s/90’s failed to teach adult thinking. Government is very typical of this type of “clever” thinking

  17. I am surprised that Barclays has a CEO who doesn’t understand the meaning of money. Even if he was trying to explain something in a certain context, for that level of management, one should try to do it in a more informed intellectual manner.

  18. Maybe the issue is that his promotion was via experience not necessarily academics. Barclays Zimbabwe has a number of such individuals. “Rose through the ranks” or something like that. Great insurance for loyalty but very little value on any other plane. White monopoly capitalists sometimes put black faces to front their businesses and this manifests itself when the “fronters” open their mouths.

  19. He is right, you cannt expect to get US dollars by doing nothing!!

    And Edwin Chabuka, your headline is a click bait, dont be naught!!!

    I also get the anger and fustration from people, especially those who thought they were going to be millionaires through bond burning and converting it into US dollars.

    Zimbos in Zimbabwe right now are the most lazy and crucade people l have ever met(majority of them). They spent a lot of their time at Makandiwa and Magaya ministries praying for miracles, and some at n’anga. You need to ask yourself what production work you have done in 1hr to gain something.

    1. Well done! Very true. Whatever people may wish if the country does not have US dollars you cannot get it out of the bank. Zim cannot create US DOLLARS

    2. So my friend you are telling me that I am doing nothing by being a civil servant? Serving !@$*#%& people like you! Ahhhh…….Somebody help me track down this MacdChip fellow.

  20. This delivery is poorly thought out Mr Guvamatanga. Ask God for forgiveness. This thinking is very dangerous. Uninformed, provocative, degrading, dehumanizing and very unpatriotic to the long-suffering masses. Better you shut up or better still join politics, which is a dirty game!

  21. anageorge madofo shuwa! munhu mukuru anozviti ceo kutadza kupindura mubvunzo uri simple kusvika point yekuendorser competition’s products. kkkkkkk haaa ndaseka

  22. Sad Reporting from techzim, why are you not reporting his later remarks qualifying his remarks. he was candid and he was blunt in his delivery but until we accept the reality we are in, we will go no where as a nation. We are not the custodians or makers of the US dollar. If we want US dollars, we have to export, period.
    secondly the conference you are talking of, was held on the 3rd of August, your team reported on the event then. But then you start saying “recently”. no wonder you didn’t give the date of the conference in you article. If you have waded into the Barclays deal, just say so.
    We expect good, impartial reporting from you. Not such stupid nonsense. If have no news just say so.

  23. May have Gotten bankers job thru some close relationship. He is insensitive and sadly immature about public commenting.

  24. Yet another blithering idiot … clearly he’s in Zanu PFs pocket ….. it is not as simple as he would like to make it out to be. Sooooo Mr ‘Crever Banker’ …. no ICT kit is made in Africa, and none therefore is exported, but you say we can have no claim to any currency as we are not exporters …. so try running your office with no SIP, PC, Software, printer, cartridges or paper …. Idiot!

  25. How would gold miners and farmers export their products if they did not have transporters to carry the produce, mechanics to fix their equipment, doctors and vets to cure their sick employees and livestock, or accountants to balance their books, or construction workers to erect buildings or retailers to provide food and clothing, bankers to enable them to make payments………? We all play a part in this economy.

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