‘Economy must embrace electronic money’

ZB Financial Holdings Group Chief Executive Officer Ronald Mutandagayi says there is need to create an ecosystem that allows all sectors of the economy to access mobile and electronic money in light of the current cash crisis in the country.

Mutandagayi said certain sectors such as transport are principally cash-based and there must be modalities set up to accommodate them into making use of alternative payments methods.

He made these remarks while addressing members of the press during a luncheon in Bulawayo recently.

“There are challenges of sectors that require the use of cash on a day to day basis. People commute to work and to school almost on a daily basis and this sector does not accept mobile or electronic money. It sends people to constantly search for cash. We need to create an ecosystem to make sure that when we talk about mobile money, we make it accessible everywhere. All shops should be able to accept plastic money and transport providers must use the tap as you go cards,” said Mutandagayi.

“There are also arbitrary opportunities where people benefit from accessing cash. They hoard it then take it to places where they can be rewarded for availing hard cash. This thus affects cash flows in the system”.

Mutandagayi said this situation calls for a need for the government to implement relevant policies which will enable setting up of master plans on how to incorporate the use of electronic money in all sectors.

“There are sectors which must be digitalised. Since 2016 when the government encouraged banks to make use of digital transfers, cash shortages loomed. As banks we get digital deposits hence it’s difficult to disburse cash to our clients because we will not be physically having it.

“There was a time when as ZB we used to mobilise cash through wholesalers. They would bring in cash when people purchased from them but with time, they started demanding a commission for giving us cash. This commission became too much of an expense on our part. We then took a decision not to pay commission since cash shortage was a national crisis,” said Mutandagayi.

He said the bank is currently involved in numerous training programs particularly to impart young people with the requisite knowledge in financial management.

“We are undertaking training exercises with various partners to enable our younger generation to appreciate finances at an early age. We are dealing with an organisation called Imagination Africa where we partnered to deal with business level students where they look at case studies. They look at various issues and come up with possible solutions. These practical issues are giving them skills to deal with normal business issues as they happen,” said Mutandagayi.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) announced last week through a Monetary Policy Statement that it will print more notes and coins into the economy in a bid to ease the cash shortages and stem the continued increases in prices of basic commodities.

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