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Zim bankers corrupt – TIZ

Eric Chiriga

ZIMBABWEANS view the country’s banking industry as being very corrupt according to a recent survey of the sector.

ica, sans-serif”>Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ), a subsidiary of the international anti-corruption movement, commissioned the survey in collaboration with the Mass Public Opinion Institute.

Participants were asked to what extent they thought the violation of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) regulations on foreign currency transactions by financial institutions had led to the emergence of the foreign currency parallel market.

A total of 36,8% said to a very great extent, 22,8% said to a great extent, 28,1% said only slightly and 8,8% said not at all.

“From these statistics it is quite poignant that Zimbabweans perceive the country’s banking sector as highly corrupt,” chairman of Transparency International Zimbabwe John Makumbe said.

It also emerged that the majority of Zimbabweans (62,1%) perceive that most bank employees are involved in illegal transactions involving foreign currency.

Only 15,5% professed ignorance of the matter.

There is a serious shortage of foreign currency in all the banks in the country and individuals have to resort to the parallel market where it is available only at exorbitant rates.

The US dollar and the British pound are officially pegged against the Zimbabwe dollar at $824 and $1 300 respectively.

On the parallel market the US dollar is fetching $6 000 while the British pound is going for $9 000.

The survey said foreign currency reserves at the RBZ had dried up attributing this to dwindling exports and general decline in productivity in all major export-oriented sectors of the economy.

The situation has been exacer-bated by the imposition of international sanctions particularly by the European Union countries because of the government’s worsening record of human rights abuse and the alleged rigging of the 2002 presidential election, the survey said.

It said tax evasion was perceived as a serious problem in Zimbabwe.

A total of 61,4% agreed that tax evasion was a serious problem in the country.

Many companies and individuals are operating in the informal sector and are unregistered which makes it difficult for the tax collector to trace them.

The skewed macroeconomic policies the government has pursued and the haphazard land reform exercise have all led to the erosion of the real value of income of many Zimbabweans.

“The measures and policies that are being introduced by the government are not helping. They are causing asset stripping not only in the public sector but also in the private sector,” said Makumbe.

In the survey, 51,7% of the respondents said they strongly agree that there is corruption in the land redistribution exercise, 27,7% said they slightly agreed with it, 16,2% said they did not agree and only 4,5% said they disagree strongly.

Combining the percentages, a total of 79,4% believe that there is corruption in the land redistribution exercise.

The majority of people surveyed agreed that there is a problem of corruption in the public sector.

An overwhelming 81,1% was of the opinion that corruption is a very serious problem in the tendering of government contracts.

Zimbabwe along with Sudan and Bolivia has been ranked at number 106 out of 133 countries with a Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of 2,3.

CPI relates to perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people, academics and risk analysts, and ranges from 10 (highly clean) to 0 (highly corrupt).

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