Enacy Mapakame Business Reporter
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has called for a speedy system upgrade by the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZETDC) to enable smooth flow of transactions for electricity tokens that customers can afford.
This comes after mobile money platform, EcoCash increased the minimum amount for purchasing electricity tokens by 400 percent to $10.
As a result, consumers have inundated the consumer body with complaints saying the minimum set amount of $10 was too punitive in an economy with low disposable incomes.
In a public notice, EcoCash said transactions below $10 would not be processed.
“The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company electricity token system is now working. Customers are now able to buy Zesa tokens via Ecocash.
“The minimum value you can buy your ZESA token on EcoCash has been increased to $10 to improve system efficiency. Any purchases below $10 will not be successful until further notice,” said Ecocash in a notice.
CCZ managing director Rosemary Siyachitema, said her organization had received complaints from the market and would closely monitor progress with the ZETDC in upgrading the system that should allow lower value transactions to be carried out.
Currently, the system has been overwhelmed.
“We understand the predicament consumers are facing, they do not have money and ZETDC needs to work on their system with haste so that consumers can purchase tokens at values they can afford,” she said by telephone.
“There is an EcoCash notice that says minimum token value is now $10 and this has been the biggest outcry from consumers. Consumers were used to buying tokens from as little as $2 because this is what they can afford,” she said.
Ms Siyachitema also said consumers needed to bear with the ZETDC while they fix and upgrade their system.
“Right now they are testing their machinery and upgrading it so that it does not get overwhelmed. As CCZ, we will keep monitoring this so that consumers can purchase tokens they can afford. There is also need to ensure easy accessibility of tokens,” she said.
Mobile money usage has grown significantly in Zimbabwe due to cash shortages as well as the convenience it provides to consumers. ZESA spokesperson Fullard Gwasira could not be reached for a comment yesterday on his mobile phone.