The Bank of Zambia has promulgated into law the decision to prohibit unwarranted fees that commercial banks charge depositors effective Tuesday, September 4.

Last week, the central bank notified financial institutions of its intention to abolish a vast array bank fees and charges slapped on depositors, calling them unwarranted.

On Monday, a statement from the BoZ Office of the Deputy Governor Operations read that the central bank had effected the decision into law by government gazette number 6693 of August, 2018, and designated Tuesday, September 4, as the date of commencement of implementation of the law.

“Please be advised that Bank of Zambia Prohibition Against Unwarranted Charges and Fees Directives of 2018 have been promulgated into law by Government Gazette Number 6693 of August 31, 2018. Pursuant to Directive Number 9, the Bank of Zambia hereby designates September 4, 2018, as the effective date on which the said Directives shall come into force,” stated a circular dated September 3, 2018, and signed by BoZ deputy governor for operations Dr Bwalya Ng’andu.

And the decision has elated Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) president Dr Lubinda Haabazoka.

Dr Haabazoka, who has been a fervent anti-bank charges campaigner for several years, received the landmark development of the abolishment with excitement and joy.

“Colleagues, the chapter has finally been closed. Effect today, September 4, 2018, the unwarranted charges and fees by banks are illegal! The BoZ has directed all banks to stop such charges and fees!!! The Directive in the Government Gazette number 6693! Enjoy free withdrawals, balance enquiries, free kwacha accounts, among other things! God bless the BoZ,” Dr Haabazoka stated in brief remarks posted on his official Facebook account yesterday.

Earlier on Monday, Dr Haabazoka had laughed off the banks’ explanation that the charges were necessary for maintenance of infrastructure, such as ATMs.

“The excuses banks are using to resist the unwarranted charges are laughable!!! This is not a battle we should lose. We want to enhance financial inclusion, reduce lending rates by encouraging people to deposit with banks on longer terms, but what we get from Bankers Association (of Zambia) is worrying. Job losses? I thought banks should lend money for a profit and not charge people over nothing. If banks insist, then government should allow companies to pay salaries by cash!!!! We shall see which money banks will hold!!!! Banks apart from demanding that an employer guarantees repayment of our loans still insist that we insure our loans!!!! With all these repayment assurances, they still demand high lending rates and deny people loans so that they can just charge us for keeping our money!!! Banks are barely renting our money. It is us they should pay and not the other way round! Say no to unwarranted charges!” Dr Haabazoka stated on his Facebook account.