ZBFH listing constrained due to sanctions
ZB Financial Holdings Limited (ZBFH) says its continued listing on the United States Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)’s sanction list is constraining the group’s ability to contribute to pensions growth in the country.
Zimbabwe’s sole pensions body — the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) — is one of the country’s biggest institutional investors and presently holds a significant stake in ZB Holdings.
ZBFH chief executive officer Mr Ron Mutandagayi told BH24: “We are owned 37 percent by NSSA which means that we are supposed to be contributing to pensions of employee persons in the country . . . restricting that means you are affecting employed people in terms of their pensions.
“So we continue to lobby, that’s the best we can do at this juncture, so that we put a case that is compelling to the authorities.”
Mr Mutandagayi said the US had so far maintained its sanction grip on the group despite earlier initiatives to lobby for a positive outcome.
“There are no new developments as far as the group’s listing on OFAC is concerned,” he said.
Earlier in March — just a month after the Infrastructure Development Bank (IDBZ) and Agribank were removed from the OFAC list — Mr Mutandagayi said the group was lobbying various key players over the matter.
And he has said that those initiatives are ongoing:
“Recently, I met with the Economic and Political Counsellor at the United States Embassy, we had a discussion around this whole area and he has made representations on our behalf to the ambassador.
“At the moment I am trying to arrange a meeting to see the ambassador so that we can put our case to the him directly,” he said.
“Our case is simple, we are a publiclyowned institution that is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and putting sanctions on an institution like that is putting sanctions on the public in Zimbabwe.
Among other effects, ZB Holdings’ listing on the OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons register affects the banking group from transacting on the international financial markets.
On a related note, last month cooking oil and allied products manufacturer Olivine Industries said it would be engaging the relevant authorities in a bid to be removed from the OFAC list, following the divestment of minority shareholder — IDC)
ZBFH group chief executive officer Mr Ron Mutandagayi