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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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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

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