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Zim lending ban insane, say experts, but officials think it’s a ...

World

Zim lending ban insane, say experts, but officials think it’s a great idea

Central bank governor says the ban on all lending by banks is a temporary measure to ensure ‘sanity’

Ray Ndlovu and Godfrey Marawanyika

Zimbabwe has adopted its harshest solution yet to halt a currency crisis, ordering banks to immediately stop all lending.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa blames banks for flooding the financial system with excess funds, fuelling a currency slide and inflation. The weekend directive to freeze loans is the latest in a series of orders since 2020 aimed at supporting the local unit and thwarting a flourishing black market. The Zimbabwe dollar, reintroduced in February 2019, has crashed 61% this year, making it the worst performing currency in the world.

The government has previously ordered the temporary shutdown of mobile-money transactions run by the largest operator, Econet Wireless, and for the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange to stop trading for five weeks. Those measures didn’t help bolster the currency. While the effect of the latest unorthodox measure is yet to be determined, cutting off banking access to companies may hit the foundering economy further...

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