THERE was a stampede in most banks in Bulawayo yesterday as depositors queued to withdraw money, with some banks reported to have run out of cash.
Most banks had long winding queues yesterday with depositors failing to get their money, a development which analysts said was confirming the worsening financial squeeze in the market.
Hundreds of depositors queued outside banks like Metropolitan Bank, CABS, Agribank and People’s Own Savings Bank with visibly disgruntled members of the public saying the long queues were now common especially during month ends.
“I have been queuing here for hours and I am not sure if I will get my money considering how long the queue is,” said Tsitsi Ndlovu, a client found queueing at Metropolitan Bank.
“People are pushing each other at the door as you can see, but I cannot do that. I am not feeling well,” she added.
There is high demand for cash ahead of the festive season. Analysts yesterday pointed out that payment of bonuses to some civil servants and other lucky workers in the private sector had compounded woes for the banking sector.
Banks in Bulawayo have been running out of cash during month ends attributed to the increasing demand of cash withdrawals.
Economic analysts have been warning that the country is heading for a serious financial crisis unless the government moves to urgently combat the perennial crisis.
Last week MDC-T economic advisor Eddie Cross told Southern Eye Business that the liquidity crunch was likely to worsen with the dampening economy as a result of depressed industrial performance and a drop in exports.
Industry capacity plunged to 39,6% which analysts said would lead to decline in exports and hence the tightening liquidity crunch.
“The country is heading to a full blown financial crisis unless the government urgently intervenes,” said Cross.
The government is technically broke with 70% of revenue being channelled towards civil servants’ salaries.
Our sister paper the Zimbabwe Independent last week reported that liquidity conditions in the country had worsened with more indigenous banks limiting cash withdrawals.
The banking sector, reeling under the liquidity crunch needs a massive cash injection to avoid a full-blown crisis.
Zimbabwe’s liquidity crunch has been worsened by its negative balance of payment position, with the country importing more than it is exporting.
According to the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe, the financial squeeze was also due to the fact that 83% deposits are transitory ones.
Transitory deposits are funds held in bank accounts from which they can be withdrawn at any time without any advance notice.