Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Long bank queues return as cash shortages hit Zim

Long bank queues return as cash shortages hit Zim

By Tererai Karimakwenda
21 December, 2011

A shortage of cash has hit many banks in Zimbabwe as the Christmas holiday 
approaches, despite assurances by the Bankers Association that all banks had 
enough money for the festive season.

Local reports said some banks had already run out of cash by Tuesday 
morning, causing fears that the cash shortages that used to cripple the 
country had returned.

According to the state run Herald newspaper, Bankers Association President 
John Mushayavanhu said: “The money we have is enough to cater for the 
festive season and there should be no fear at all.”

Mushayavanhu advised people to use ATMs to avoid the long bank queues. “The 
problem with this period is that most people want to go to banks at the same 
time and people do not want to use ATMs,” he is quoted as saying.

The long queues were created by workers hoping to collect their Christmas 
bonuses and year-end salaries, which are crucial to many families this time 
of year.

Hararewas not the only urban center hit by the cash shortages. Long bank 
queues were also reported inBulawayo, Masvingo, Marondera and Chinhoyi. In 
some areas outside the capital banks waited for cash to be delivered from 
other branches.

Journalist Tendayi Ndhlovu, who visited several banks in Harare city centre 
on Wednesday, told SW Radio Africa there were “long, winding queues and 
chaos” at most locations as people tried to make withdrawals before the 
Unity Day celebrations on Thursday.

“Most depositors are trying to withdraw all their money fearing they may 
fail to do so come tomorrow at the ATMs. But they are being asked to 
withdraw half the amount of money in their accounts,” Ndhlovu explained.

He spoke to a pensioner from Ruwa who had been unable to access any money on 
Wednesday. Ndhlovu was unable to contact the Bankers Association President 
John Mushayavanhu for comment.

InBulawayo, SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme reports that long 
queues extended into alleyways and through to other roads. But unlikeHarare, 
there were no restrictions on the amount allowed for withdrawals.

“This particular situation was exacerbated by a power outage that 
hitBulawayofor most of the afternoon,” Saungweme said. He added that some 
banks extended their hours, closed the doors and crowded people inside their 
banking halls.


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