The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, (RBZ), has with immediate effect banned cash in and cash out by all mobile payment system providers and merchants.
The move by the central bank seeks to curb illegal activities by economic agents who are abusing the cash in, cash out and cash back facilities. These activities include buying and selling of cash through mobile money agents at higher rates above the approved charges which has been fueling the price of the us dollar on the parallel market.
“It has come to the attention of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe that some economic agents are engaging in illegal activities abusing the cash-in, cash-out and cash-back facilities thereby compromising the public interest objectives of national payment systems in the economy”, RBZ Deputy Director, financial markets, national payment systems Mr Josephat Mutepfa said in a statement.
The central bank noted that the charging of commissions outside the approved framework is adversely affecting the smooth operation of payment systems and has a negative effect of distorting pricing of goods and services.
Earlier this month, the country’s largest payment platform, EcoCash, suspended over 4 000 of its agents on allegations of charging excessive premiums for customers intending to cash on their mobile money. EcoCash, one of Econet’s biggest business units, moves billions of transactions annually through its over 50 000 agents dotted throughout the country.
Last week, the RBZ’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) ordered banks across the country to freeze the accounts of some named entities on allegations of fueling the US dollar parallel market rates.
In June this year, the government abolished the multi-currency system, introduced in 2009, and made the Zimbabwean dollar the sole legal tender in a move aimed at controlling the spiralling rate of the US dollar against the Zimbabwean dollar.