The government has defended its latest move to ban Ecocash cash in and cash out transactions saying they had to protect innocent citizens against people who were abusing the platform to fatten their pockets.
Yesterday the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) banned all cash-in, cash-out and cash-back transactions as part of efforts to bring sanity on the cash situation.
This followed complains by the general public against unscrupulous dealers who were charging premiums ranging between 40 to percent for every cash out transaction.
During a press conference today, Information Communication Technology and Courier Services Minister Kazembe Kazembe described the move as a “bold decision” that government had to take in order to protect citizens from chancers who were taking advantage of the system.
“People are now abusing it I think we have to be very fair to the rest of the citizens. People have been crying that those people engaged in ecocash and mobile, have been abusing that technology and facility and making people pay a percentage for the certain transaction when ordinarily your mobile money must be equivalent to your cash money.
“But people have been abusing that and the citizenry has been crying so the government has taken a bold decision to outlaw, to ensure that people are not given that opportunity to abuse that platform,” he said.
Earlier during a State of the Nation Address to Parliament, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said although exchange rates on the black market were coming down, government was still concerned about “saboteurs” who were taking advantage of mobile money platforms.
“Government is fully aware of the challenges faced by the public in accessing cash, which has resulted in some unscrupulous traders selling cash in exchange for electronic money.
“Appropriate measures are being taken to address the cash situation, which includes a gradual removal of arbitrage opportunities created through multi-tier pricing,” Mnangagwa said.
Meanwhile, Ecocash has taken the matter to the High Court challenging the ban which they said could result in complete shutdown of the platform.
This could potentially affect more than two million users who depend on the platform for daily transactions.