CBZ disburses $350m agric funding

HARARE - CBZ Holdings Limited (CBZ) — Zimbabwe’s largest financial group by assets — says it has so far disbursed over $350 million in loans to the agricule sector this year.

Its chief executive, John Mangudya, said the institution would continue to fund the sector as part of efforts to revive the country’s economy.

“Over the past few years we have consistently funded agriculture and the capital has become more of a revolving fund,” he said, noting that depending on the outcome of the 2014 season, CBZ planned to increase agriculture funding by five percent in the forthcoming season.

This comes at a time the agriculture sector — Zimbabwe’s economic mainstay — is slowly recovering from a chaotic land reform programme which nationalised all agricultural land and then leased around 4 000 previously white-owned commercial farms to landless blacks for 99 years.

Although the sector is slowly recovering, progress has been hampered by lack of funding, particularly offshore, due to Zimbabwe’s high political risk as well as an acute liquidity crisis prevalent in the country.

Agriculture experts claim that adequate financing of agriculture will benefit millions of people through higher incomes, food security and generation of employment in addition to stimulating economic growth through the sector’s strong backward and forward linkages with other critical sectors of the economy, among them the manufacturing and financial sectors.

Meanwhile, CBZ registered a $36,7 million profit for the year ended December 2013, shrugging off a dollar crunch that left depositors unable to withdraw their money from banks at the end of last year

The financial institution, which is involved in commercial banking, mortgages, asset management and insurance in the southern African country, has been recording profits for five successive years post dollarisation.

Mangudya said despite economic challenges being experienced in the country, the financial institution has made notable inroads in the banking, insurance and asset management fronts.

“The group has delivered significant value to all stakeholders along the value chain,” he said.

Mangudya noted that in line with the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed banking group’s dividend growth policy, the board declared a final dividend of $1,3 million.

“Having paid an interim dividend of $1 026 829, this translates into a total annual dividend of                  $2 289 537, a 10 percent growth from prior year,” he said.

CBZ’s total assets increased to $1,5 billion from $1,2 billion in prior year period as total deposits surged to $1,3 billion up from $1 billion in prior year.


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