Card based transactions increased by $55 million to $506,14 million in April 2017 from $451 million recorded in March 2017.
The increase comes at a time when monetary authorities are increasingly pushing for the promotion of cashless payment systems and the general scarcity of cash in the economy. Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president, Mr Denford Mutashu believes that over 80 percent of the retailers have adopted to use plastic money.
“Indeed almost all registered retailers around towns and cities are using POS machines except for those in the rural areas where there are network and power supply issues. “Instead those have embraced mobile money we have seen a tremendous rise in transactions attributed to plastic and mobile money.
“The increase in the usage of plastic money is testimony of the efforts by banks to promote electronic payments to make it easier and cheaper for the banking public to use cards.” During the month under review, the total value of transactions processed through the National Payment System (NPS) stood at $6 954,94 million in April 2017, down from $7 011,38 million in March 2017.
THE parliamentary portfolio committee on Finance and Economic Development will summon central bank officials responsible for handling foreign currency amid allegations of misappropriation of the foreign exchange.
The allegations, which surfaced when Finance permanent secretary Willard Manungo and central bank governor John Mangudya appeared before the committee on Monday, came at a time when the economy has been experiencing foreign currency shortage. The monetary authorities attribute the cash shortage to a mismatch between exports and imports.
Harare East legislator Terrence Mukupe asked Mangudya whether he would allow the committee to summon some of his officials for a public hearing to question them based on information they had.
This comes as the central bank recorded $2,4 billion in foreign currency that has arrived into the country between January and May 31 this year from mainly exports and diaspora remittances.
Of the foreign currency received during that period, RBZ retained about 30% with Mangudya highlighting they could account for that portion of the funds and not the 70% kept by banks.
“On our books there should be enough cash circulating in the economy, but we are finding that is not the case due to market indiscipline,” he said.
TWO retail outlets were yesterday fined by a Harare regional magistrate for contravening section 13 of the Bank Use Promotion Act after they failed to bank their cash.
Bathroom Boutique, which was represented by its general manager, Faith Chumbu, was fined $9 700, while Eurostar Electricals Company, which was represented by its manager, Paul Muyengi, was fined $20 000.
Bathroom Boutique was then ordered to pay $8 200 after magistrate Hosiah Mujaya suspended $1 500 on condition that the company shall not be convicted of similar charges within the next five years, while Eurostar Electricals was ordered to pay $18 000 after $2 000 was suspended on the same conditions.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) claims it is aware that bond notes are now being sold in Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa and this has contributed to the unyielding cash crisis in the country, a tacit admission of failure, as the central bank always claimed the surrogate currency will only trade hands within Zimbabwe’s borders.
RBZ deputy governor, Kupukile Mlambo told participants at an international retailers’ indaba hosted by Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) in Harare yesterday that the central bank was surprised to learn from its staffers and bankers that bond notes were being found across the border.
Mlambo suggested cross border traders were responsible for taking bond notes across the border, which he bizarrely said were a more “stable” currency compared to the South African rand. Cross border traders are estimated to be spending $1,15 million daily buying their wares.
Financial expert, Persistence Gwanyanya, said bond notes were being found across borders due to their parity with the United States dollar.
STEWARD Bank has restructured its ICT department after weeks of failing to service its clients, who have been complaining about poor service in the last three weeks.
Statement yesterday, Steward Bank said it had appointed Arthur Matsaudza as the acting chief technology officer, Gedion Moyo (head digital transformation), Luckson Madziwa (digital products development manager) and James Ritala (information systems operations manager).
The move is part of reorganising their ICT department, as the bank indicated it is preparing to cater for higher transaction volumes.
He said they had resolved all delays, but that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s RTGS system going down last Wednesday and Thursday exacerbated their problems.
For weeks, clients have complained to the bank, saying they were unable to process their payments, with delays ranging anywhere from seven to 14 days in some cases, a process that should take 24 hours at most.
Zimbabwe's mobile and Internet transactions breached the $1 billion in March, as locals migrate to cash-lite payments on the back of acute cash shortages.
Data from the central bank indicates that mobile and Internet transactions in Zimbabwe — which has been battling a cash crisis for over a year — closed the month of March 2017 at $1,1 billion up from the $796,3 million recorded in February 2017.
Since the country’s cash shortages began, cash-obsessed locals have been forced to migrate to alternative payment methods with the RBZ aggressively lobbying for a migration to cash-lite transactions.
Mobile money payments in Zimbabwe accounted for 81,2 percent of all electronic payment transactions maintaining the dominance mobile money services have had in transaction volumes, with this increase in alternative cash methods attributed to the cash shortages.
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) will soon introduce shared point of sale machines (POS), which will see up to 10 operators sharing a single gadget, each with a personalised code.
The Deputy RBZ Governor, Dr Kupukile Mlambo, said this was one of the many strategies the apex bank was employing to mitigate foreign currency shortages caused by externalisation.
He called on all businesses in the country to open bank accounts so that cash can circulate locally and stressed the need to link the informal sector with the formal sector as well as monitoring business against a three-tier pricing system. Dr Mlambo said these measures should be complemented by increasing export-driven production and embracing use of plastic money.
"Let’s use plastic money because cash is a problem. We are planning to increase use of POS machines in the informal sector. We are going to have some being used by 10 users but all with different pin codes. We are looking into that. We have compelled a lot of companies that don’t have bank accounts to open one."
THE Reserve Bank has begun engaging financial institutions willing to partner the apex bank for the financing of the tuition loan scheme for higher and tertiary education students.
The central bank in the January 2017 Monetary Policy Statement announced that students in higher and tertiary education institutions will as from August start getting educational loans to assist parents and guardians who are struggling to pay fees.
In a statement yesterday, the RBZ called for proposals for the implementation and administration of the educational loan facility for higher and tertiary education programmes.
“In order to facilitate the envisaged student assistance, the Bank invites proposals from financial institutions registered in terms of the Banking Act (Chapter 24:20) and the Microfinance Act (Chapter 24:29) for the re-establishment of the Educational Support Facility and administration of loans or facilities or any financial accommodation extended in terms of the said facility,” reads the statement.
Zimbabwe received $180 million in diaspora remittances during the first quarter of the year with a projection to net in $750 million by end of 2017, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has said.
RBZ governor John Mangudya told NewsDay last week that the major sources of remittances were coming from South Africa, United Kingdom (UK) and United States.
“On the diaspora remittances we are around $180 million. The drivers of Diaspora remittances are South Africa, UK and USA. Here I am talking about diaspora individual remittances that came through official channels excluding those being sent through informal channels,” Mangudya said
The RBZ boss said the projected $750 million remittance this year did not include money that comes in the country through unofficial channels.
“We expect around $750 million that’s through the official channels. We know some people in South Africa and Botswana don’t have official papers so they obviously cannot send money through official channels,” he said.
Last year the diaspora remittances were $779 million down from $939 million in 2015.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has dismissed social media fabrications that it is introducing higher bond notes denominations of up to $50 describing such information as malicious falsehoods.
Yesterday social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with reports that the central bank is introducing $10, $20 and $50 bond notes, prohibiting use of MasterCard, Visa Card and Maestro outside the country and rapping certain Government departments over failure to bank cash.
RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya warned the public not to follow such unfounded and malicious reports.
“These statements are false and should be treated with the contempt they deserve. The bank (RBZ) dismisses the statements in their entirety as false, irresponsible, mischievous and malicious as the Governor nor any officer of the bank has held any such press briefing or made the statements as alleged,” said Dr Mangudya.
He said the the statements were not only false but dangerous as they were calculated to cause alarm and despondency within the economy.
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe says it has deployed teams on the ground to deal with issues of indiscipline by some traders who have insisted on multi-tier pricing for different modes of payment.
RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya said they were working on reining in errant traders in line with provisions of the Bank Use and Promotion Act, amid concern some retailers continue to hoard cash and illegally trade in foreign currency.
“Our teams are working on the issues of indiscipline being perpetuated by some traders. We have since established a hotline for the public to report to the Reserve Bank instances of such malpractices for a reward of 5 percent of reported and recovered funds.”
Some errant retailers have continued to engage in multi tier pricing of goods for the different forms of payment across the country despite repeated warnings from the central bank that they risk arrest as the practice was in violation of the banking legislation.
In terms of banking cash or proceeds of business, the law says “Every trader and parastatal shall, unless it has good cause for not doing so, deposit in an account with a financial institution no later than the close of normal business hours on the day following that on which the cash is received or on the next banking day.”
Despite the vanishing of the United States dollar from the market and the cash shortages buffeting the country, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says it is importing $10 million of the greenback weekly.
RBZ governor, John Mangudya said the importation of the dollar was inconsistent with maintaining a dollarised economy.
“Yes, we import cash almost every week and we are now importing $10 million on a weekly basis. When we say we import cash we say we import dollars because we said we want to continue using the dollar in this economy,” he told NewsDay last week.
This comes after Mangudya said last week that cash deposits at banks and nostro holdings had increased by 50% to $450 million. He said $140 million in bond notes, $23 million in bond coins and an estimated $400 million to $600 million was circulating in the economy.
Mangudya bemoaned the inefficient money circulation, saying it was working against the growth of the economy.