Monday, April 29, 2013

Sanctions lift a major boost: Agribank
28/04/2013 00:00:00
by NewZiana

AGRIBANK has said the lifting of United States sanctions will allow the bank to access lines of credit to help boost support for the agriculture sector. The US recently removed sanctions it had imposed on the Agricultural Development Bank (Agribank) and the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe.

Agribank divisional director for strategy, marketing and business development Joseph Mverecha told New Ziana that operating under sanctions was detrimental to operations as the bank lost millions of dollars through using third parties to conduct transactions.

"It is good news for us as we are now able to deal directly with our clients and conducting transactions without going through third parties.

"Being off sanctions brings us at par with our competitors," he said.

The US government passed the sanctions law the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act in 2001 and in 2003 effected travel bans and assets freeze on Zanu PF and government officials.

ZDERA included a credit freeze of The Government of Zimbabwe, at international financial institutions with a US director with veto rights, and the IMF and World Bank. In the Wikileaks tapes it was referred to as "slashing an already deflated tire". Deflated by 5 years of the World Bank's structural adjustment programme, ESAP. ZDERA states in Section 4C, titled Multilateral Financing Restriction:

SEC. 4. SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY.

(c) MULTILATERAL FINANCING RESTRICTION- Until the President makes the certification described in subsection (d), and except as may be required to meet basic human needs or for good governance, the Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States executive director to each international financial institution to oppose and vote against--

(1) any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe; or

(2) any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United States or any international financial institution.

***

The banks in question are listed in Section 3, DEFINITIONS:

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1) INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS- The term `international financial institutions' means the

multilateral development banks and the
International Monetary Fund.

(2) MULTILATERAL DEVELOPMENT BANKS- The term `multilateral development banks' means the

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the
International Development Association, the
International Finance Corporation, the
Inter-American Development Bank, the
Asian Development Bank, the
Inter-American Investment Corporation, the
African Development Bank, the
African Development Fund, the
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the
Multilateral Investment Guaranty Agency.

***

- MrK

Last month the European Union (EU) also suspended sanctions on 81 Zimbabwean individuals and eight entities, but kept the Zimbabwe Mining Development Cooperation (ZMDC) under the embargo.

The US and its Western allies are moving to re-engage Zimbabwe in a development analysts have said were an indication that the sanctions had failed to achieve regime change.

Mverecha said Agribank would be able to access lines of credit as well as getting a partner for the privatization plan set by government.

"Being on sanction was an albatross on our neck because we lost vast business opportunities running into millions of dollars," he said.

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