Empowerment minister Patrick Zhuwao says he is waiting for treasury to release US$10 million to a bank he established and appointed President Robert Mugabe’s daughter as one of the directors.
Bona Mugabe Chikore is a board member of the government-owned Empower Bank while her husband Simba Chikore was handed a cushy job as deputy head of the struggling Air Zimbabwe.
Zhuwao, also a nephew of the president, says the bank is a “response to the unattended economic needs and aspirations of youth and indigenous Zimbabwean entrepreneurs”.
Government is the shareholder, having provided some US$2,5 million in founding capital for the bank.
However, Zhuwao says the money is not enough and wants finance minister Patrick Chinamasa to provide an additional $10m.
“Definitely not adequate,” the minister said of the seed capital, in a recent interview.
“Whilst we are grateful to the minister of finance, we are still engaging with him to avail the $10 million that he committed to.”
The minister said the bank’s board have also been directed to raise more capital, adding that the effort would be led by Bona.
“I have asked the board to set up a special capitalisation committee that will focus on attracting investors and capital to Empower Bank to ensure that Government remains with no more than 10% shareholding.
“The board committee on capitalisation will be chaired by Mrs Bona Chikore.”
Zhuwao has since rubbished criticism of Bona’s appointment to the bank.
He told a local weekly; “Is the concern a politically biased one, just because she is the daughter of the president of Zimbabwe who happens to be from Zanu PF?
“If so, no answer I give would reason with such politicised concerns. Or are they real concerns about the qualifications and capacities of a young Zimbabwean woman?
“Certainly, she must then be considered, like everyone else, according to her capacity and abilities to be entrusted with such a position. What has she achieved as a youth, a young woman?
“She pursued her education in the finance sector to the level of a degree and masters. She also has experience in business, having helped run a commercial business, that is Gushungo Dairy.
“She has also started her own business. So why can she not be considered, does she not have much she can offer to her Zimbabwean peers who are to benefit from the Empower Bank?”