CBZ (Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe) stumbles – badly

26 01 2012

Last Friday I was in the bank and got the cash I needed without a problem. I saw the ART Farm accountant there and he was muttering about not being able to do transfers. Over the weekend it emerged that they had a liquidity problem so it was with a bit of concern on Monday that I went to draw wages. They grudgingly gave me the $4000 or so that I needed but most people were only getting $1000 and they only had smaller denomination notes; $20 and less. There was clearly a serious problem here.

In Friday’s Independent newspaper CBZ was reported as loaning $713 million last year, more than double the next bank, BancABC. I have also heard anecdotally of a farmer who got a $1m loan from CBZ – clearly impossible to pay back in Zimbabwe’s economic climate. Then yesterday Shelton told me that he’d seen in the press that the liquidity problem WAS due to too many loans being given out. Just who was in charge of that aspect? Is this a case of “loans for mates” of Gideon Gono who has significant influence there? I wouldn’t be surprised.

No liquidity

10 07 2011

“There’s just no liquidity” said Phil the Banker, glumly shaking his head. I also blame this lack of cash on the run of poor business we’ve had at the nursery over the last 3 months. Of course, having to rely on diesel power to irrigate one’s crops as the national power grid is so unreliable doesn’t help either.
“Yes”, I replied, “we are just not producing anything”. This is not strictly true, we areproducing lots of diamonds, probably in excess of 1 billion US dollars worth but precious little (excuse the pun) is getting back into the economy.

The retail economy is definitely suffering too. I have been doing a bit of browsing with view to replace at least one of the armchairs I own that probably predate me – they are more than a bit tatty and uncomfortable too. I have been into three outlets that sell furniture this week and in all cases I was the only person in the shop. The cheapest armchair I could find was US$450 which puts replacing the entire suite well into the fantasy realm. Yes, I don’t have the liquidity either! There was not a lot of choice in style either and curiously, just about everything was covered in leather which is obviously targeting the luxury market. Made in Zimbabwe? Just one chair.