Zimbabwe: RBZ Confirms Mobile Money Ban but Keeps Platforms Open for Small Transactions

A woman displays the new $10 banknotes on her way out of a bank in Harare (file photo).

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Saturday confirmed its unpopular suspension on all mobile money transfer platforms in respect of transactions above $5 000.

This followed a Friday announcement by the Information ministry government had moved to suspend Ecocash, One Money, Telecash and MyCash Mobile money platforms as well as the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange for allegedly fuelling the country's volatile foreign currency exchange rate.

Ecocash, a subsidiary of privately owned Econet Zimbabwe, responsible for 94% of all mobile money transactions in the country, was singled out as the main driver of the current economic turbulence fuelled by high volume mobile money transactions.

Early Saturday, Ecocash took an adamant stance through issuing a statement it was not going to be guided by a ministerial announcement - through the media - of a ban on mobile money platforms when RBZ, the regulating authority had not pronounced any position on that.

The central bank Saturday moved to confirm the policy stance but said the platforms shall remain open for 'bona fide' purposes such as paying utility bills and other miscellaneous daily transactions among individuals.

"All mobile money agents are suspended from facilitating mobile financial transactions with immediate effect," read the statement by RBZ.

"All merchant transactions are suspended except for receiving payments and paying utilities which is limited to ZW$5000 per day."

RBZ also directed that all mobile liquidations be done through the banks adding that the punitive policy stance was motivated by the desire by authorities to protect the transacting public.

"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," said the apex bank.

The RBZ has assured the public that their transactions will be processed normally.

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