Central bank governor John Mangudya presents the Monetary Policy Statement at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe yesterday

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya says withdrawals are now averaging $5,5 million a day, showing that more depositors will find it harder to access money from banks.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

The $5,5m worth of withdrawals is from the 19 banking institutions in the country that include commercial banks, building societies and savings bank.

Considering that 30% of the population are banked, these numbers are paltry, as evidenced by the fact that many depositors still queue for cash in the central business district.

But Mangudya claimed, before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance on Monday, that queues at banks were going down, with some of the committee members firing back that the central bank boss was “not living in reality”.

“When an economy is receiving deposits of $146 million and withdrawals of $140m these are not small figures by any international standards. Right now, our current deposits per day stand at around $6m per day for the whole banking sector against withdrawals of around $5,5m, so we can say our deposits and withdrawals are between $5m and $6m on a daily basis,” he said.

Economists say depositors still need cash for menial transactions, where plastic money systems are not operational, such as transport or buying from vendors.

Apart from this, many institutions still demand cash from consumers, increasing demand.

RBZ statistics showed that last month, $138m worth of deposits were received by the banking sector against withdrawals of $135m and January had $146m worth of deposits received against withdrawals of $140m.

The trend has pointed to more banks holding on to cash and disbursing fewer dollars than what they would have received, despite most institutions stating a prerequisite to withdraw cash dependent on deposits.

Mangudya said the queues at the banks were “a reflection that there is more money that we are putting in the economy, more than the foreign currency at that particular time”.

“But, if you go there (banks) now today, before payday, there are no more queues, but queues resurface, so they recur,” he said.