The money was supposed to benefit villagers in Sedze, Nyatondo, Bonde and Mambemba in wards 19 and 22 in Nyanga district. “The bank managers at Royal Bank have informed us that we cannot make any withdrawals. We cannot purchase the materials needed for our water harvesting project,” said Conorio Nyamaropa, chairperson of Nyatondo Village committee in Ward 19.
The villagers said they have been travelling between Nyanga and Harare for a long time now in an effort to solve the problem without success. “We are at a loss as to what to do,” said Gladys Makombe, committee secretary for Sedze Village.
Facilitator of the projects, Joseph Tososa, who is the director of the Zimbabwe National Environment Trust (ZNET), said Royal Bank had really let down the villagers.
He said it was a let down “given that another disbursement of funds is expected in September 2012 if the villagers use the money as planned between March and August 2012”.
Royal Bank acknowledged the predicament adding that they were facing institutional challenges. The bank said measures were being put in place to address the problem.
“In order to address the challenges, we have linked with our international partner in Nairobi, Kenya, for liquidity transfers which we are expecting any time soon,” said Casper Majoko, Royal Bank’s head of retail banking and operations in Harare.
National coordinator Tsitsi Wutaunashe said GEF/SGP local office was in the process of drafting a letter to Royal Bank demanding its funds back. Royal Bank, alongside ZABG, escaped the axe from the central bank after securing partners to help shore up capital levels.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is on record saying it was working to alleviate liquidity challenges on the local market.