Conrad Mwanawashe Business Reporter
In five days time it will be Christmas.
A bond note financed Christmas. A mobile money facilitated holiday.
Zimbabweans have by and large warmed up to the bond notes released by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last month. Also, the use of plastic money has been widely accepted.
Notably, the RBZ has escalated awareness campaigns for the bond notes, taking the message countrywide.
Bond notes derive their value from the Nostro Stabilisation and Export Finance Facility provided by Afreximbank.
The total amount of bond notes to be issued is capped at $200 million.
The notes are being released in denominations of $2 and $5 while being pegged at 1:1 with the United States dollar.
In the meetings to be held with societies countrywide and co-hosted by The Herald Business, the central bank will be explaining everything relating to the bond notes.
So far meetings with communities, different levels, professions, backgrounds and persuasions have allayed any fears that may have been harboured by some sections of society.
Kariba and Bindura have since been engaged in this initiative which is expected to be taken to the whole country.
Valid points of concern were raised by delegates in candid plenary sessions in these meetings and the RBZ has been taking note of the issues raised.
The bank is expected to look into the issues that delegates feel require attention and further investigation.
Some of the issues that came out include failure by some traders and service
providers to provide Point of Sale machines.
This is an area the central bank, the banking industry and industry should look into as a matter of urgency.
The deployment of POS should be in line with growth in the internet penetration which is at 50,1 percent.
As reported by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority mobile penetration rate (active) is at 94,3 percent in the third quarter of 2016.
These developments must be synchronised so that the transacting public is not short-changed.
In the same token, the central bank should look into concerns that some service providers are always “offline” or “machines are down”. This is normally done to force the public to use cash, which they may not have.
While the public has generally accepted the bond notes and transacting through the POS, service providers have the potential to dent Government’s push for financial inclusion and use of plastic money.
The other issue that requires attention relates to the speed and efficiency of the mobile money platforms.
In this other retail shop, shoppers had to wait for a long time to get their transactions processed because the mobile money platform was not accessible.
The RBZ needs to engage the mobile network operators so that they can improve service delivery. The operators need to upgrade their systems to make them compatible with the increasing volumes as more people turn to mobile money platforms.
In retail shops, supermarkets, night joints and hotels have swipe machines and mobile money platforms for the convenience of the transacting public.
While these issues are being addressed, another area that requires urgent attention also is the social media which is still yet to embrace the convenience that the bond notes and plastic money are bringing.
Some characters have been on over drive attacking the bond notes with a view to discourage their acceptance.
In that regard, the central bank should implement a social media strategy to also reach out to the social media.
But while the Reserve Bank attends to issues relating to the bond notes and mobile money, most probably, families and friends will gather to see the Christmas and New Year holidays out.
Some will travel, some will enjoy in their homes while some will go out to party.
All these transactions require to be financed, cash or through plastic and mobile money.
It will be a super holiday especially if efficiency in transacting is improved.