EMPOWERMENT Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has summoned Barclays Bank officials to explain the ownership structure of the bank as the government empowerment drive targets the financial services sector.
Kasukuwere said he would meet Barclays’ managing director George Guvamatanga Monday to discuss the bank’s compliance with Zimbabwe’s empowerment legislation.
“I will be meeting Guvamatanga on Monday to discuss the status at Barclays,” Kasukuwere told The Herald.
“(Guvamatanga) has often said that Barclays is already indigenised (and) I will be very keen to understand what he means by that.
“There is also the issue about the other foreign-owned banks, and as the BAZ president, I am sure he can give us some insight into the status of his colleagues.”
Barclays, Standard Chartered and the South Africa-controlled Stanbic dominate the country’s banking sector and Kusukuwere said he was now focusing on ensuring they comply with the country’s empowerment legislation.
“My ministry is now focusing on the financial services sector and we are going to be closely evaluating the proposals that they have tabled in compliance with the indigenisation regulations,” he said.
“Our expectations are that this should be done in line with the aspirations of the workers and other indigenous investors.”
Under the country’s economic empowerment programme, foreign companies are now required by law to transfer control of at least 51 percent of their Zimbabwe operations to locals.
But central bank chief, Gideon Gono has warned against applying the legislation to the country’s banking sector. Gono repeated the warning at an empowerment conference in Harare last Friday.
"The money that is in the banks does not belong to Gono, or (George) Guvamatanga (Managing Director) of Barclays Bank here," he said.
"It belongs to depositors. It would be a great act of irresponsibility not to respect depositors' money."