Zimbabwe’s finance minister Patrick Chinamasa on Wednesday criticised South African’s banks for wanting to charge more when its neighbour approaches them for loans.
“Your financial institutions make it more expensive than when they lend to their own clients here,” he said after agreements were signed between the two countries at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
“What is the justification for money going across the border being more expensive than when [in] Limpopo?” he asked journalists after Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma had addressed the media on relations between the two countries.
“Why is it more expensive just crossing a river?” Chinamasa asked.
“It’s like taking advantage of our situation…”
Asked whether he had come to South Africa to borrow money for the country, which has survived hyperinflation and had to stop using its own currency in favour of the US dollar, he said: “No. No. No.”
And then repeated it: “No. No. No. We have not come to borrow money.”
He added that there should not be any negative sentiment if the country did want to borrow money.
“Borrowing is not for free,” he said.
“There is no business that does not borrow, including countries.”
The country had laid very large foundations for economic recovery and had recently started inter-bank lending again, he continued.
There would be further clarifications of the country’s “resource nationalisation” indiginisation laws which, Mugabe earlier defended saying the 51% government ownership requirement was “generous”, because companies got to keep 49% for themselves.
It would not be a ”one size fits all”‘ approach.
There would be no immediate return to Zimbabwe’s own currency, he said