By Dylan Murambgi
A LOCAL pressure group has urged Zimbabweans to withdraw all their money from local banking institutions as a precautionary measure to safeguard their money from “thieves” in government.
This was said by National Informal Economy Network spokesperson Promise Mkhwananzi during a round table discussion in Harare on Wednesday.
Mkhwananzi said the informal economy, which is largely driven by an ever ballooning population of street and corner store traders, should now be vigilant as the current economic situation was threatening to take the country back to the 2007 era.
The turbulent period leading up to the 2009 formation of the country’s coalition government saw depositors, workers and pensioners lose their savings and benefits when the economy ruptured under hyper inflation.
The upheaval happened during the subsistence of the local currency which was later scrapped after the transacting public had ditched it for the more stable US dollar, among a basket of foreign currencies.
The central bank last week announced plans to introduce bond notes in the next two months to augment depreciating volumes of the US dollar which now remains the most preferred currency among locals in the wake of the South African rand’s recent plunge in value.
Likewise, the informal economy network has moved to warn its members to be on guard as the country could now be sliding towards a reincarnation of the dreaded period.
“So we have said and we repeat that the informal sector, those that have money within the banks must with immediate effect, withdraw that money and secure it elsewhere and the rest must wait to use the bank as we assess the situation,” Mkwananzi said.
The former student activist said the planned introduction of bond notes on government’s part was paying lip service to fundamental problems in the economy and the politics of the country.
He said the country’s complex problems could not be solved through the resurrection of the Zim-dollar.
“It has all to do with the flawed balance of payment; it has all to do with lack of discipline in terms of our expenditure as a country, with lack of accountability and transparency in governing institutions,” Mkwananzi said.
“We have been financing this madness for a long time; we need to cripple this government.
“We must unite to uproot the entire system and come up with a totally different system in this country because this thing is not working and it is not going to work.”
He said if the people kept their monies in the banks, it would continue to be siphoned and used to oil the current regime’s operations and for the sustainability of the entire patronage system that feeds through ill gotten resources.
Mkhwananzi said efforts to work with the banks to instil confidence through the introduction of informal sector friendly facilities and accounts had hit a brick wall.
“You know that traditionally the informal sector is sceptical about the use of banking facilities.
“Less than 14 per cent of the people working in the informal sector are using bank accounts and only three per cent use those bank accounts in the name of the businesses they work in.
“The informal sector is cash driven business and once there is doubt as to whether there will be money when you want to withdraw, the scepticism intensifies.”