Biti, Gono take bullets for SMEs

Finance Minister Tendai Biti, and the Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono have agreed on the need to tighten legislation relating to foreign banks as they fail to support indigenous people.


Presenting evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Small to Medium Enterprises recently, Gono said that while other banks had dispatched $164, 4 million in loans, the internationally controlled Barclays Bank had failed to give a single cent to SMEs.

“It is saddening to say that Barclays Bank has not extended anything to SMEs. One of the greatest impediments to the success of SMEs is the legislation itself. Legislation at a national level and legislation at the local authorities’ level should be anchored with SMEs in mind,” Gono said. Gono appealed to the legislators to come up with policies that would oblige foreign banks to contribute to the indigenous people.

Addressing journalists on the state of the economy recently, Biti concurred with Gono, accusing banks of not reciprocating his ministry’s efforts to protect them from the current indigenisation drive.

“We have been very protective of the banking sector. The Governor of the Reserve Bank and myself have put our necks out to say, ‘Don’t touch this sector; don’t disturb this sector’, but we also feel that the financial sector is appreciative of the bullets that we have been taking on their behalf,” Biti said.

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