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Banking Act: RBZ calls for wider participation

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has heeded Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (Zibawu)’s call to participate in the formulation of reforms to the Banking Act, a union official has said.

Fidelity Mhlanga

Zibawu assistant secretary-general Shepard Ngandu said this week the central bank had sent a draft of the Act to the union, which they forwarded to the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe (Ledriz).

This comes after the union last month submitted to parliament and the RBZ a petition on bank closures, saying financial institutions’ continued crumbling had reached a national crisis proportion requiring urgent attention and action.

Ngandu said after delivering the petition to the RBZ, the bank’s governor, John Mangudya, agreed to quarterly meetings with the union representatives to discuss issues of mutual interest, as well as guarantee Zibawu’s participation in the banking law reforms exercise .

In his 2015 Monetary Statement, Mangudya said the amendments to the Banking Act were designed to strengthen the supervisory and regulatory framework, adding the major provisions included corporate governance, troubled bank resolution, resolution of non-performing loans, credit referencing system, registration of bank holding companies and consumer protection.

According to Ngandu, amendments to the Banking Act have received green light from cabinet, adding it is now being finalised by various stakeholders.

“It (Act) has already gone to cabinet, they (RBZ) have sent us the draft to see that we could have an input and we have given our experts to work on it,” he said.

Zibawu has sanctioned Ledriz to make necessary amendments on its behalf that could see the effectiveness of RBZ supervisory role, as well as empower the central bank to be strict when issuing banking operating licences.

The act should also ensure that shareholding is not concentrated and must ensure that shareholders do not become chief executive officers of the same company.

The union is mulling a stakeholder indaba in May that will rope in trade unions, members of parliament, banking executives and regulatory authorities.

Zibawu said this platform would broadly address challenges bedevilling the banking sector and map the way forward for the industry.

“The main purpose of the meeting is to plan the way forward for the financial services industry and speak with one voice. Issues like the welfare of banking employee, security of depositors funds, need to uphold corporate governance will be on the agenda,” Ngandu said.

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