A Zimbabwean commercial bank that closed its doors 17 years ago has reopened and has promised to settle part of the debt the government owes white commercial farmers.
Time Bank reopened its doors to the banking public after years of closure and immediately announced it would provide a facility to offset the outstanding former white farmers’ compensation bill.
The outstanding bill is estimated to be US$3,5 billion.
At the turn of the century, some 20 years ago, the Zimbabwe government evicted thousands of white commercial farmers from the land and replaced them with millions of landless blacks.
However, the government has been failing to compensate the evicted farmers despite repeated promises to do so. The compensation is for infrastructural improvements made on the former white-owned farms.
The revived Time Bank has since promised to assist the government in settling the outstanding debt.
“The purpose of the facility is to finance the payment of compensation by the government to Previous Farm Owners (PFOs) who are covered by the Global Compensation Deed,” Time Bank, in a recent statement, said.
“The compensation amount will be paid through the Time Bank by the government to the PFO and Time Bank will pay such compensation in the United States dollars, cash, or bank transfer.”
The Time Bank added interested former white farmers would be required to fill application forms with the financial institution and payments would not exceed US$10 000 per applicant.
The government is also required to issue a letter of confirmation guaranteeing loan the repayment before the funds are issued.
Most of the former white farmers affected by their forced removal have left the country and resettled in Europe and Australia.
Some have ventured into farming in other African countries such as Zambia, South Africa, Namibia, and Nigeria.
However, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has made some attempts to bring several evicted farmers back on their land over the past few years.