Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has given the green light for cash-out transactions on mobile money platforms, but capped it at $100 to minimise abuse. This comes after the central bank had banned cash-in, cash-out and cash-back transactions on Monday, triggering a market reaction including frantic court action from a giant telecommunications company.
RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya yesterday said payment systems facilitate economic activities in the country.
“As such, the Reserve Bank continues to promote digital financial services which contribute to financial inclusion and stability. Cognisance of that, enhanced monitoring mechanisms have been put in place by both the Reserve Bank and payment system providers to mitigate against abuse of payment systems and ensure abusers are brought to book.
“To this end, payment system providers and agents are hereby advised that the cash-out facility is now capped at $100 per transaction with immediate effect,” he said.
Dr Mangudya said existing operational cash-in and cash-back limits remain in place, adding that the RBZ will be injecting cash into the economy “without changing money supply”.
“In this regard, banks will exchange existing RTGS balances for cash thus maintaining the monetary base unchanged.
“Financial institutions and agents are required to strictly adhere to the Know-Your Customer (KYC) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD) principles for all their customers at all times and ensure that there is no abuse of the payment systems,” said Dr Mangudya.
The RBZ directive on cash-in, cash-out and cash-back facilities saw the forex rate sliding to US$1:$14 by yesterday from a high of US$1:$26 a fortnight ago.
The directive was also meant to deal with high percentages of up to 60 percent for people wanting to access hard cash.
While the ban on cash-in, cash-out and cash-back facilities had brought order on the market, it created a new crisis as commuters struggled to access cash for bus fare.
This saw commuter omnibus operators charging almost double the cash fares, as they claimed that service stations barred them from buying fuel using plastic money or coupons on allegations that their business was conducted on a cash basis.
National Business Council of Zimbabwe (NBCZ) president Mr Langton Mabhanga hailed the RBZ for the “swift response to public outcry and stern action on the mobile money transfer premium scourge perpetuated by mostly EcoCash agents”.
“Capping cash-out at $100, meanwhile increasing cash supply to banks hedged by the existing RTGS balances, will effectively increase cash in circulation, better protection for the transacting public, increase in disposable income and curtailed inflation. This will eclipse price skimming by the premium vultures and help hygiene in the financial system,” he said.
Mr Mabhanga added that cash hunters targeting supermarkets should be tamed by law enforcement agents to protect the transacting public.