HARARE – Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s subsidiary Homelink has begun disbursing a $15 million loan that will benefit scores of cross-boarder traders.
This comes as government is making moves to cushion the informal traders against cash shortages that had given room for parallel market activities.
The money will be disbursed through Agribank.
Agribank head of strategy Joseph Mverecha encouraged cross-border traders to tap into the facility, insisting that the bank was ready to support the informal sector and to enhance financial inclusion.
“We have already put in motion a process of delivering a special service to ensure that no cross-boarder trader accessing this loan facility will wait in queue in all our 45 branches. There will be a special desk for this,” he said.
Mverecha could not be drawn to give the interest rates on the loans only saying borrowing rates will be conservative.
“In respect to the issue of interest rates this issue is handled by Home Link, we have a tripartite arrangement which involves Homelink, Agribank and Cross Boarder Traders Association,” Mverecha said.
“In the interest of this arrangement where have each key responsibilities and Agribank’s responsibility is the management of deposits, opening of accounting. The interest rate will be determined by Home Link in consultation with the Cross Boarder Traders Association.”
Cross Border Traders Association president Killer Zivhu said the facility would assist in stemming the tide of externalisation.
“We have launched this $15 million dollar facility today in Chitungwiza, we will be also be launching it in all major cities.”
Zivhu said the facility will help mop up small denominations that are not accepted in neighbouring countries.
Cross-border traders requiring to access loans from the facility will need to first open an account with Agribank with disbursement of loans being done by Homelink.
A trader who attended the launch in Chitungwiza last week said the facility would go a long way in solving problems brought about by cash shortages.
“We are great full to this programme as women who have been in this trade for a long time now,” Skhumbozo Mwananga said.