The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), which will tomorrow unveil the 2019 Monetary Policy statement, has revealed that banks are now boasting of 6,7 million accounts from 1,4 million accounts in 2016 as regulatory authorities forge ahead with policies to ensure industry and households get access to low cost financial products.

The development has raised optimism that tomorrow’s Monetary Policy will build on fiscal measures aimed at increasing confidence within the banking sector. 

Data presented to capital market experts by the RBZ Deputy Governor, Dr Jesimen Chipika at a financial inclusion forum in Harare today indicates that the rise in the uptake of automated teller machines, mobile banking platforms, online shopping facilities, credit and visa cards among others has necessitated the increase in banking sector accounts.

“As at December 31, 2018, the banking sector accounts were therefore pegged at 6,7 million driven by the financial inclusion strategy which seeks to ensure that all Zimbabweans have access to banking products,” Dr Chipika said.

“It is an indication of how we are forging ahead with growth systems to unlock more value in the banking sector within the country and achieve the desired results in the short to long term,” he added.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Mr George Guvamatanga, who was represented by the treasury’s Director in the Capital Markets, Mrs Judith Rusike, said the government has also gone further by introducing the empowerment bank for the youths as well as the women’s bank.

“We are doing all what we can to sustain the needs of the banks at a time when concern is mainly linked to the need to facilitate the growth of the economy through products for women and the youths,” said Mrs Rusike.

The banking sector has also benefitted from the $233 million RBZ empowerment and productive sector facilities for on lending to industry and commerce.

Concern is however being raised over high bank charges that are eroding the value of savings.