The RBZ’s war on supposed alleged saboteurs and people wrecking the economy continues. The latest salvo from the central bank is the banning of mobile money cash-in and cash-out transactions as well as cashback transactions which are normally performed at the point of sale terminals.
Rushed and ill-thought as always
The directive, called National Payment System Directive 01/2019, is to be applied with immediate effect. As with all of this current government’s directive, it is ill-thought as it doesn’t give the slightest thought about businesses that legitimately use the systems.
For example, ZIMPOST collects payments using cashout transactions as most people use Ecocash. A lot of small businesses that cannot afford swipe machines use cashout and cash-in as modes of payments. Cashback is something that is done internationally and there is a good reason for this.
The government views businesses as the enemy
Just like during the twilight months of 2007-2008 the government is blaming all the economic woes being faced by the public on businesses instead of taking responsibility for the rot and despondency it has been overseeing.
This NPS directive comes hot on the heels of similar Statutory Instruments that ban the use of the Zimbabwean dollar for domestic transactions. To show how rushed these laws are, the term domestic transactions is not even defined in either Statutory instrument in either 212 and 213 of 2019.
The government seems to have taken and paternalistic autocratic approach where they assume they know best and have declared businesses to be their enemy. If the current attitude prevails and continues we might see the very death of established businesses again.
Indeed if the stranglehold continues to expect empty shop shelves to greet you soon.
The very death of Ecocash
Without Cash In or Out Ecocash has just become pretty useless indeed. This might just be what finally kills it. The conspiracy theory believer in me cannot help but think maybe the government actually wants it to happen. Most elites despise the fact that Ecocash has succeeded whereas Onemoney continues to wallow in misery. Telecash exists on paper with very few active users.
It still does not improve supply of foreign currency
The fact is that none of these measures actually go to the root of the problem. Zimbabwe is not producing enough to meet its domestic needs. It has to rely on imports to cover the deficit. That means it needs foreign currency. Even now demand still outstrips supply.
What the government is merely doing is trying to reduce demand and competition for foreign currency by thwarting and clubbing demand. It’s like curing a patient by killing him. It’s technically true. A dead patient is no longer sick.