Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
Banks have demanded legislation to deal with the restrictive and monopolistic tendencies by some mobile telecoms operators in order to lower the cost of banking and ensure wider financial inclusion, the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe has said. Giving oral evidence before a parliamentary portfolio committee on youth indigenisation and economic empowerment recently BAZ president Mr George Guvamatanga said that systems interoperability and unhindered access could lower the cost.
“We want legislation that takes away some monopolistic and restrictive tendencies that we are seeing.
“We want interoperability because it would make it more convenient for people to get the (banking) services,” Mr Guvamatanga said.
Parliamentarians expressed strong reservations on the situation obtaining in the banking sector saying banking is now expensive as one’s money actually decreases instead of earning interest.
This comes as Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile telecoms operator has been fighting a bruising battle with banks regarding its unstructured supplementary service data platform used for mobile phone based money transfer.
Econet is denying banks access to the USSD arguing that the gateway to banking customers was not its platform, but mobile phone money transfer service known as Ecocash, where Econet expects to generate growth going forward.
Banks have categorically indicated they do not have any problems getting access to the USSD platforms of other local mobile phone operators namely Telecel and NetOne.