Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere says Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe Limited has agreed to set up a US$20 million youth wealth fund to be administered by the National Youth Council and the bank as the country’s controversial black economic empowerment program gains momentum.
In a message posted on his Facebook page, Kasukuwere said youths aged between 21 to 35 years are expected to start accessing up to US$20,000 each starting next Monday.
Stanbic executives were not available for comment while the chief executive of the youth council Livingstone Dzikira said the funds, like the Central African Building Society wealth creation program created a few months ago, will be accessed by all young people despite their political affiliation.
Political analyst Bhekilizwe Ndlovu said it is unfortunate that such funds are set to benefit youth aligned to President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.
"The best way is for people to effectively use this party's cards to access the funds for their own benefit but never vote for it in the forthcoming elections," said Ndlovu.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono has vowed to protect Zimbabwe’s banking sector from the lop-sided indigenization program saying companies and individuals with funds should set up their own banks instead of targeting under the country’s economic empowerment scheme fiercely opposed by the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change.
Gono said recently told the Daily News that instead of sharing the existing cake, “those who have got an appetite for going into the banking business should please come to me whether at family level or village level. I am ready to issue licences so that you can start your own bank as opposed to you destroying banks which are trying to make life a little bit easier in a very difficult business environment.”
He further said: “The maximum value belonging to a single shareholder in a bank in London is like $40 to $50 million…the rest belongs to the people and anyone who thinks that money is for sharing next day after taking it all...that does not happen. Let’s us learn to start our own busines ... why not use the capital to start your own business, the more the merrier.”
Finance Minister Tendai Biti has also opposed the transfer of foreign-owned bank shares to blacks arguing that this will destroy the sensitive banking sector which has improved dramatically since dollarization in 2009.