Browsing: Banking

ZB Financial Holdings mulls shutting down home loan unit

As his banking operation grew Vingirai became the target of what has been called deliberate skullduggery against successful businesspeople in Zimbabwe. In 2004 after the banking crisis that claimed the scalps of most of the indigenous banks in Zimbabwe Nicholas Vingirai had to leave the country and spent seven years in self-imposed exile after he was charged with contravening the country’s exchange control laws.

He was absolved in 2011 of the charges of externalization of foreign currency however, the government had expropriated his firm Intermarket Holdings in 2006. Since that time Vingirai has been on a crusade to recover his assets which are now in the centre of the dispute. ZB Financial Holdings comprises of assets that belong to Transnational Holdings Limited. For the assets that were annexed from Vingirai, the government duly transferred 22.7% of the shares in ZB Financial Holdings to the veteran banker.

More shares are due to Vingirai’s investment vehicle so that they correspond to the value of Intermarket Holdings at the time that the government took it over. In July 2021, 11% of ZB Financial Holdings shares were supposed to be transferred to Transnational Holdings Limited. This is pending. The dispute has been long drawn out with all kinds of proposals being made, ranging from demerging Intermarket from ZB to allocating shares to the veteran banker.

AfCFTA will be a game changer for Africa, but its success depends on certain enablers being present. The first and most obvious impediment and an obstacle to the initiative will be mustering the political will of the signatories to implement the necessary reforms to enable its success.  This may not always be politically feasible or possible.

The less obvious enablers and the financial institutions on the African continent. Their presence and activities have a direct and strong bearing on the success of AfCFTA. One of the foremost bankers on the African continent, Sim Tshabalala, the chief executive of the continent’s largest banking institution by assets, is fond of saying that banking is a derived business. This means that banks butter their bread from the activities of economic agents.

If AfCFTA is to succeed in its quest to merge the various comparative advantages of the countries that constitute Africa it will need champion banks to support the intra and intercontinental trade activity from there being a single market and all participants, both local and foreign looking to make money. Africa will need champion banks to facilitate the flow of capital to worthwhile projects and ensure that the capital deployed into various activities earns the best returns for its providers.

The president announced in a May 7 televised speech that banks had been banned from lending in a bid to stem the precipitous decline of the local currency inter alia increasing capital holding tax, banning third party transactions on the local bourse, and increasing Intermediated Money Transfer Tax (IMTT).

The move came as the local currency had been depreciated against the United States dollar. This is amid high demand for the greenback which is seen as a store of value.

An executive at an agro-processing firm, name with-held, told NewZimbabwe that his company can’t borrow what it needs to pay 500 farmers for the soy and sugar beans. It contracted them to grow, or fund the purchase of inputs such as fertilizer for the next season’s crop.

A report published by Lexology on January 18, 2022, Zimbabwe’s economy is largely driven by the mining, agriculture, and tourism sectors. However, because of Zimbabwe’s foreign currency shortages, there is a significant focus on export-oriented and foreign currency-generating activities.

This allows investors, businesses, and the government to retain value and meet the country’s forex needs. Zimbabwe’s main exports are minerals, agricultural produce, and soft commodities. She also has large reserves of chromite, coal, gold, and iron ore, among others. The country is also one of the world’s largest growers of tobacco.

According to research by Mordor Intelligence, Zimbabwe is a signatory of several bilateral and international agreements (MIGA, OPIC, ICSID, and UNCITRAL) that protect the investments of the companies in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has cheap educated, and competitive labour, well-developed infrastructure, and easy access to regional and global markets through its membership in AU, COMESA, SADC, COPAC, and CISSA. Zimbabwe offers free movement of investment capital and attractive investment incentives.  Zimbabwe allows for 100% Foreign Direct Investment in almost all sectors barring a few.

NMB is also listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) and has been tracking rather promising records. According to DSE daily market highlights, NMB’s closing price stood at TShs. 2,340 and the previous closing price was TShs. 2,340.

The bank’s largest shareholders are strategic partners Arise B.V with a 34.9 per cent shareholding and the government of Tanzania with a 31.8 per cent shareholding.

According to NMB, alongside its financial achievement, “the Bank has also received several awards, highlighting the growth trajectory of the institution. In 2020, NMB’s achievements led to internationally acclaimed recognition as the Safest Bank in Tanzania by Global Finance magazine, and being named Best Bank in Tanzania for 8th consecutive time by Euromoney magazine,”