The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has lowered the daily ZIPIT transactions cap from ZWL 100 000 to ZWL 20 000 while also introducing a monthly cap of ZWL 100 000 as the battle against the scourge of illicit foreign currency trading activities intensifies.
This follows last week’s directive by the Central Bank to Steward Bank, holders of Ecocash’ s Mobile Money Trust (MMT) account not to receive or process payments into Ecocash’s MMT account from third party entities.
In response, most illegal money dealers sought an alternative on the ZIPIT platform to circumvent the effects of the new regulations before the RBZ yesterday ordered Zimswitch which operates the ZIPIT platform to set lower limits.
“The FIU has noted KYC shortcomings in the ZIPIT system that make it difficults for banks, regulators and law enforcement agencies to speedily identify counter parties to a transaction or to identify multi- banked users,” the FIU said in a statement directed to Zimswitch and copied to all banks.
“The current ZIPIT limits of ZW$100,000 per day allow a customer (subject to any bank-specific limits) to move about ZW$3 million per month, using a single account,
and much more if they are multi-banked or uses third party accounts,” the statement read further.
The ZIPIT caps- despite temporary, are meant to safeguard the money laundering risks and mitigate the constant exchange rate pressures on the local currency.
“Until such time when adequate safeguards are built into the ZIPIT system to minimize the money laundering risk, ZIMSWITCH is directed to implement, with immediate effect, daily and monthly ZIPIT limits of ZW$20,000 and ZW$IOO,OOO, respectively,” the statement read.
Monetary authorities have being battling to sanitize the financial market against the marauding illegal money traders for a lengthy period now with limited success.
The latest measures have somewhat dealt a blow on most illegal money traders who are struggling with liquidity to sustain operations.
Last week, RBZ ordered Ecocash to supend agents lines suspected to have been used for illicit transactions.
The latest move is sadly manifesting unintended consequences for the ordinary public and business in general in transacting for genuine purchases of items.
A look at major furniture and electrical gadgets stores will reflect that prices of most items cost more than the ZWL 20 000 daily ZIPIT cap.