Zimbabweans too docile – Nyemba


Ngoni Chanakira

WHILE Zimbabweans know exactly what their problems are, all they do is complain without lifting a finger to do anything about it, says Trust Holdings Ltd (Trust) chief ex

ecutive officer William Nyemba.


“We know what our problems are,” Nyemba said on Wednesday. “We however do not do anything to try and solve the problems.


Yes, admittedly there is a banking crisis but seriously, gentlemen, do we think nobody knew that things would go this way?”


The prominent banker made the remarks before presenting his financial institution’s sterling results at an analysts’ briefing.


In its unaudited group interim results for the half year ended June 30 Trust’s net profit for the period stood at $15,1 billion in historical terms, an increase of 150% over the performance figure for the whole of the 2002 financial year.


In inflation-adjusted terms the group chalked up $12,6 billion.


Compared to the six months ended June 30 2002 this represents an increase of 817%, while in inflation-adjusted terms it stood at 176%.


The group’s total balance sheet size stood at $202 billion compared to $44 billion as at June 2002.


Earnings per share stood at 3 924 cents.


Trust declared a dividend of 700 cents per share and Nyemba promised shareholders this would double “when next you hear from us again”.


“Despite the difficult economic hardships we are going through we all need to work together,” Nyemba told analysts.


“We are happy that the clergy, politicians and concerned citizens are working together, sometimes behind closed doors, to try and solve what we are experiencing. Even us as bankers are also trying to help the country get back on track. I worked in Ghana which went through the same patch and I have been consulting government on how we can get back to where we belong.”


Nyemba and another prominent banker Kingdom Financial Holdings Ltd founder and deputy chairman Nigel Chanakira represent Zimbabwe on the influential World Economic Forum (WEF).


They meet with WEF officials at least once a month to update the association on Zimbabwe’s economic progress.


“We just need higher bank notes full stop,” Nyemba said, departing from his prepared presentation. “With the level of inflation we simply cannot hide behind a finger and pretend that somebody is going to help us get out of our situation. Printing small notes just does not solve anything.”


The banker was referring to the current cash crisis facing Zimbabweans.

He said while the banking sector was being blamed there were more players that needed to take responsibility about the cash problems. Nyemba is a former deputy president of the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe.


Trust chairman Tichaendepi Masaya said the cash shortage, a first of its nature in the history of the financial services sector, continued to escalate to crisis levels particularly in the latter part of the period under review.


He said this had negatively affected confidence and service delivery in the sector.


Masaya said it was imperative for authorities and industry players to urgently put in place measures to overcome this crisis, and avert serious dislocation of economic activity.


During the period under review, Trust successfully concluded negotiations to acquire a controlling stake in CAL Merchant Bank Ltd, a leading merchant bank in Ghana.


The group expects to assume control of operations in the last quarter of this year.


Negotiations have reached an advanced stage for the acquisition of a business in Malawi, as well as the opening of a start-up project in Botswana.


Masaya said these international and regional transactions would in the immediate future contribute significantly to the group’s earnings, and reinforce Trust’s already growing position as a dominant financial services group.

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