Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere on Thursday said major mining companies had complied with the legislation but he was worried by the attitude of some players in the financial services sector.
Government is pushing a policy that seeks to ensure that locals have a minimum of 51% shareholding in foreign-owned companies operating in the country.
“We have a challenge in the financial services sector and we will be cracking (the whip) on that sector,” Kasukuwere said.
“We have our Standard Chartered Bank who still show a lot of disrespect to our laws, Barclays Bank who try to find all the excuses they can and Stanbic Bank which ignored its own commitments to the people of this country when they said that they will make 30% available for Zimbabweans to participate.”
When Standard Bank acquired ANZ Grindlays (Zimbabwe) in 1993, it pledged to sell 30% to locals.
“If you look at their own history, South Africans are participating in their bank and what we are simply asking them to do is that they must honour their commitments.”
Foreign-owned banks operating in Zimbabwe are considered safe by depositors and have been attracting more deposits.
However, they have low loan-to- deposit ratios, which has upset authorities.
The move to crack the whip on foreign banks is likely to draw a sharp response from the central bank governor Gideon Gono who has been at the forefront in calling for caution when dealing with the delicate financial sector, the nerve centre of the economy.
In an apparent reference to the empowerment legislation, Gono told delegates at the launch of the mobile money transfer business on Thursday that the central bank was ready to offer banking licences.
“Those who would like to start financial institutions, I will never tire from putting my signature to banking licences should you want licences.
“I am happy to give you a licence where you own 100% of the bank, don’t be satisfied with anything less,” he said.