New Law: Zimbabwe Banks Must Accept Livestock as Collateral. Commercial banks in Zimbabwe will soon be compelled to accept livestock such as cattle, goats and sheep as collateral for cash loans to informal businesses under a new law presented before the National Assembly by the Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday.
Under the Movable Property Security Interests Bill tabled for debate by Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa in the House of Assembly, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will compile and administer a collateral-security register in which small-business operators and individuals can register their movable assets as security for credit.
Machinery, inventory, livestock, accounts receivable, vehicles, television sets, refrigerators, computers and other household appliances will become acceptable as collateral once they are evaluated and registered in the central bank’s register, according to Chinamasa.
During its Second Reading Stage, Chinamasa explained that the law would allow a wider demography of citizens to access credit and also spur enterprise development in the country.
“The initiative entails establishment of a collateral registry and enables individuals and businesses to utilise their movable properties for borrowing,” he said.
“It promotes availability of credit by diminishing risk assumed by lenders as they may bond movable assets as collateral and dispose of them when the borrower defaults.”
“As minister in charge of financial institutions, I feel there is need for a change of attitude by our banks to reflect of our economic realities,” he said. Banks are “stuck in the old ways of doing things and failing to respond to the needs of our highly informalized economy.”
He also said the majority of Zimbabweans, including SMEs, cannot access credit due to lack of acceptable security in the form of immovable properties such as houses and factories, which are preferred by traditional lending institutions.
“This Bill seeks to close that gap and will provide a platform to inform parties and the public about the existence of security interest in movable properties. A Collateral Registry will be established as a department in the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ),” he said.
Chinamasa said laws such as the Deeds Registry Act, Agricultural Finance Act, Grain Marketing Act and others would need to be harmonised with the Movable Property Security Interests Bill, and the RBZ Act amended in order to provide for a holistic approach towards utilisation of movable properties as collateral.
“The registry will be funded through lending fees, charges for registration, amendment and cancellation of notices and others. The Bill will promote financial inclusion to small and medium enterprises, women, youths and other under-banked groups. It will increase access to credit and improve competition in the financial sector,” he said.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance, David Chapfika said the majority of Zimbabweans were failing to secure bank loans as they had no collateral in the form of title deeds.
“Members of the public said the cost of registered notarial bonds is prohibitive and discouraging investors. They said the registrar must be a public officer and that the Registry Office must be decentralised,” he said.
Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Thokozani Khupe suggested the law should ensure women are allowed to use their husbands’ properties as collateral.
Zimbabwe’s economy is forecast to shrink 2.5 percent this year, after contracting an estimated 0.3 percent last year, according to the International Monetary Fund.The southern African nation has mainly used the U.S. dollar since economic mismanagement and runaway inflation rendered its own currency worthless eight years ago. A liquidity squeeze ensued as growth faltered and a strong dollar eroded the competitiveness of Zimbabwe’s exports. The cash crunch has become so severe that banks are now limiting customer withdrawals.