A Bulawayo Senator has urged government to come up with strategies to bail out poor people struggling to clear debts at various banking and lending institutions in the same manner it was trying to forgive high-profile debtors owing the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe over $1,3 billion.
Senator Dorothy Tholakele Khumalo (MDC) introduced a motion in Senate last week where she argued that debtors were victims of the economic meltdown and transition from the Zimbabwean dollar to the multi-currency system.
“A lot of these debtors are dying and thousands are silently suffering depression, high blood pressure, ulcers and other stresses and ailments due to the financial difficulties that have seen them losing their properties and becoming beggars,” Khumalo said.
“What I am calling for is not something new because as recent as last year government wrote off debts of households to local authorities primarily because of the liquidity challenges.”
She said government can bail out poor debtors if it can decide to bail out big wigs who benefitted from RBZ schemes. The takeover of the RBZ debt by government would see taxpayers forking out $1, 35 billion to pay off debts accrued by an elite.
“At present Parliament is debating if it could pass a law seeking to allow government to take over the debt of $1, 35 billion owed by RBZ. The debt is due to the liquidity challenges faced by senior people who were borrowed by the RBZ,” Khumalo said.
She said most poor debtors’ properties were on the verge of being sold, thus threatening to make them destitute.
“Government should create a fund with a view to bail out many of our entrepreneurs who are facing liquidation and disposal of their properties. The fund created will be used in a responsible manner so as to inject funds into debtors’, businesses to enable them to repay their debts or alternatively to allow the banks to arrange new rollover facilities,” she said.
The senator proposed that government should also make it difficult for a person in debt to lose their property through disposal by court orders due to indebtedness.