WOMEN Affairs and Gender minister Nyasha Chikwinya told Senate last Thursday that the proposed Women’s Bank would be housed in Post Office Savings Bank’s (POSB) unused banking halls.
by VENERANDA LANGA
“The ministry is in partnership with POSB, which has branches all over the country, and after some of their branches were closed due to lack of business, we requested them to allow us to use them all,” she said.
“The Women’s Bank is progressing well, but it is not easy for us to begin operations because a lot of things still need to be done, for example, we need to instal information communication technology (ICT) so that we start to operate.”
The minister said some former POSB workers will also be hired by the Women’s Bank.
“I want to believe that we will not surpass the month of September before we open up our bank. However, for the ICT programme to be set up properly, so that we are all networked throughout the country, it will take a period of 90 days and we are almost finished.”
Chikwinya said men will not be allowed to access loans from the Women’s Bank, but will be allowed to make deposits.
“Men are not allowed to take loans; we do not have money to give to men. You should visit any other bank for loans but with this one you cannot. Let us use this one to help women, who have been disadvantaged all along. This one is positive discrimination and we are not ashamed of it,” she said.
Chikwinya said women have potential to embark on business projects, with 70% poultry farmers in the country being women. She said they already have ready markets for their produce.
“We received an order worth millions of dollars from Namibia recently, and it was approved by Cabinet. We also have 100 000 tractors just for women so that they do farming,” she said.
“Anyone, who wants to own a tractor from that programme should be trained first for a fee of $65 and then we give you an offer on the type of crops that you will plant and the market for the final products.”
Chikwinya said Pick N Pay supermarkets have already issued contracts to women farmers to buy their produce.