On 27 June 2020, through the Secretary of Information and Broadcasting Services Nick Mangwana, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe released a press statement detailing the suspension of mobile money transactions because of cited reasons.
When the statement was released, it faced a backlash from the public mainly because EcoCash which has a 94% market share is used by more than 10 million Zimbabweans to conduct their day to day transactions. Most of these EcoCash users do not have bank accounts.
Due to the fact that the statement was released by the Secretary of Information and not directly by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the respective recipients of the directive defied the statement and told their customers to continue with their normal transactions until Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has since released a press statement directly from the financial regulator. However, the statement seems to have been amended as it now different from the one that was released by Nick Mangwana as it now indicates that mobile transactions can still be done but under certain measures.
Here’s the full statement:
On the Suspension of Monetary Transactions on Phone Based Mobile Money Platforms
Following the Government Press Release on the Suspension of Monetary Transactions on Mobile Based Money Platforms (One Money, MyCash, Ecocash and Telecash) dated 26 June 2020, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (the Bank) wishes to advise the public as follows:
a) All mobile money agents are suspended from facilitating mobile financial transactions with immediate effect.
b) All merchant transactions are suspended except for receiving payments for goods and services as well as payment of utilities (water, power and airtime), which have been limited up to ZW$5000 per day for the convenience of the transacting public.
c) All mobile money liquidations should be done through the banking system.
d) All bulk payer transactions have been suspended with immediate effect.
These unprecedented measures have been necessitated by the need to protect consumers on mobile money platforms which have been abused by unscrupulous and unpartisan individuals and entities to create instability and inefficiencies in the economy.
Members of the public are assured that their bona-fide transactions will be processed normally.
John P. Mangudya Governor 27 June 2020
The measures will remain in place until mobile-money platforms have been “reformed to their original purpose and all the current phantom rates of exchange have converged into a genuine rate of exchange that is determined by market forces under the Foreign Currency Auction system,” the previous statement said.
The Zimbabwe dollar has slumped to 57.35 per U.S dollar after a currency peg of 25:1 in place since March was abandoned.