Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
INTERBANK transaction processor, ZimSwitch, has allayed fears the Zimswitch Instant Payment Interchange Technology (ZIPIT) had been suspended or scrapped after the application went offline for the better part of yesterday.
The mobile phone anchored facility which allows for mobile banking and has over 20 banks on its platform went offline yesterday igniting a social media frenzy that the facility had been scrapped. The facility has come in handy for the transacting public and now processes an average of 14 million transactions per month.
However, it has also been abused by cash dealers who sell hard currency at a premium to depositors. ZimSwitch deputy general manager Mr Zabron Chilakalaka yesterday told The Herald Business that the platform is going through a system upgrade.
“It has not been suspended or scrapped, from our end, ZIPIT is just undergoing a system upgrade,” said Mr Chilakalaka. “You will realise that before end of day today (yesterday) selected banks will be back up and running but by tomorrow (today) everything will be sorted,” he said.
Zimbabwe last Saturday woke up to chaos in the currency market with widespread panic buying of basic commodities but authorities dismissed the panic as a product of negative sentiments from the social media. In a statement released on Saturday, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Dr John Mangudya said there had not been any changes on the financial market to justify the panic.
“Nothing material has changed in the availability of foreign currency. To the contrary, exports have gone up,” said Dr Mangudya. “The intention of social media (abusers) is to confuse the market through instilling fear in people. Zimbabweans should refuse to be hoodwinked by fake social media statements designed to increase premiums on the parallel markets by misguided rent seekers,” said the apex bank.
The same social media was back at it again yesterday, misleading the public that ZIPIT, on whose platform a large chunk of plastic money transactions go through had been pulled down.