ELEC­TRONIC PAY­MENTS CLOCK $5,5 BIL­LION

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Oliver Kazunga and Pros­per Ndlovu

PAY­MENTS through the elec­tronic trans­ac­tion sys­tem have jumped to $5,5 bil­lion this month as the coun­try re­sponds to the Re­serve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) pol­icy mea­sures meant to ease the pre­vail­ing cash cri­sis.

Cen­tral bank Gov­er­nor Dr John Man­gudya said this while ad­dress­ing del­e­gates at the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Zimbabwe In­dus­tries an­nual congress in Bu­l­awayo yes­ter­day.

He said fol­low­ing the cash cri­sis the coun­try has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in the past few months, RBZ came up with a raft of mea­sures, which have started bear­ing pos­i­tive re­sults.

These in­clude in­creased use of plas­tic money (us­ing bank cards and other elec­tronic pay­ment sys­tems), re­duced elec­tronic trans­ac­tion costs and daily cash with­drawal lim­its.

The mon­e­tary au­thor­ity has also en­cour­aged busi­nesses to in­crease the in­stal­la­tion point of sale (POS) ma­chines to pro­mote the use of plas­tic money.

“If we do some anal­y­sis of what’s hap­pen­ing now, so far on elec­tronic pay­ment sys­tems, they have gone up. So, we are thank­ing Zim­bab­weans for a good re­sponse to the pol­icy mea­sures. Point of sale (POS) ma­chines are work­ing in all the com­pa­nies, sales are go­ing up in pro­por­tion­ate to the cash sales,” said Dr Man­gudya.

“So, that shows you that there’s an in­crease in July to $5,5 bil­lion worth of to­tal elec­tronic pay­ment sys­tems.”

Dr Man­gudya said the for­eign cur­rency headache was com­mon across Africa hence with­drawal lim­its were not unique to Zimbabwe as other coun­tries such as South Africa, Zam­bia and even the United States were im­ple­ment­ing the ap­proach to man­age fi­nan­cial flows.

He said bank queues among other neg­a­tive im­pli­ca­tions had been re­duced as a re­sult of the in­creased use of elec­tronic pay­ment sys­tems.

Dr Man­gudya also said mea­sures were be­ing put in place to curb il­licit fi­nan­cial out­flows, which he said were haem­or­rhag­ing the economy.

He en­cour­aged the trans­act­ing pub­lic to em­brace the plas­tic money ap­proach to ease de­mand for hard cash and en­cour­aged busi­nesses to also ac­cept trans­ac­tions that re­flect the pre­vail­ing mul­ti­ple cur­rency sys­tem that the coun­try adopted since 2009.

This is meant to re­duce de­mand for the US$, which of late has be­come a dom­i­nant cur­rency given its strong value against re­gional cur­ren­cies such as the rand, pula and kwacha.

A num­ber of busi­nesses such as NetOne, fast food gi­ant Sim­bisa and Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments are al­ready ac­cept­ing pay­ments in rand.

Dr Man­gudya said Real Time Gross Set­tle­ments (RTGs) amounts have also gone up as more peo­ple opt to use trans­fers. “But why do you want to carry all the cash in your pock­ets? You want cash for three pur­poses — for trans­act­ing pur­poses, for spec­u­la­tive pur­pose and for con­tin­gent pur­poses. So, if you’re trans­act­ing, it means you want to buy goods from a shop. Just go there and use the POS ma­chine,” he said.

Last month the RBZ cut charges for elec­tronic pay­ments af­ter se­cur­ing the con­cur­rence of banks and providers of pay­ment plat­forms agreed to re­duce the rates to pro­mote and en­cour­age the use of elec­tronic bank ser­vices.

The RTGS charge was re­duced to $5 from $10 per trans­ac­tion while that for POS trans­ac­tions of up to $10 now costs 10 cents. A cus­tomer con­duct­ing a POS trans­ac­tion of above $10 is now charged a max­i­mum of 45 cents.

If a cus­tomer uses a POS from their own bank, they will be charged 20 cents. ATM charges, which var­ied be­tween banks pre­vi­ously, will now cost a max­i­mum $2.50. Monthly ad­min­is­tra­tion or ser­vice fees are set at a max­i­mum of $5.

Re­serve Bank Gov­er­nor Dr John Man­gudya (cen­tre) ex­changes notes with the Min­is­ter of In­dus­try and Com­merce Mike Bimha (right) and BAZ past pres­i­dent and Agrib­ank CEO Mr Somkhosi Mal­aba at the CZI congress in Bu­l­awayo. (Pic­ture by Eliah Saushoma)

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