Kiyapili Sibanda, Business Reporter
THE retail sector has recorded a 70 percent increase in electronic transactions to date as more consumers embrace use of plastic money.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president Mr Denford Mutashu confirmed the development, citing the latest Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe data.
Recently, the central bank in collaboration with retailers and wholesalers came up with measures to enhance regulatory compliance and use of plastic money in business transactions.
Mr Mutashu said the increase in use of plastic and mobile money platforms was impacting positively on the performance of the retail sector and the economy as a whole.
“The rise in use of electronic transactions is encouraging to the retail sector. It is a testimony of growing confidence on use of plastic and mobile money across the economy,” he said.
“However, I think more should be done in the rural and marginalised areas hence as CZR we are commencing plastic and mobile money use campaigns across the nation in the coming weeks.”
Retailers and wholesalers are an integral stakeholder in the overall circulation of currency in light of their interface and linkages with manufacturers (suppliers) and the general public (consumers) through the distribution of various commodities. Recently, some retail players were accused of hoarding, externalising hard currency and abusing the cash back facility, prompting the RBZ to reduce cashback to $20. Citing the RBZ report, Mr Mutashu said the 70 percent increase in the volumes of electronic transactions as of this month were being facilitated by the increase in deployment of point of sale machines (POS), which are now at more than 36 000 across the country.
He said if Zimbabwe had implemented use of plastic and mobile money earlier the issue of cash shortages being experienced could have been avoided.
“Certainly if we had adopted the use of plastic money early the cash shortages challenges could have been addressed. It’s unfortunate at times we do kneejerk reactions as opposed to long-term planning,” he said.
Among other agreed measures retailers and wholesalers should bank all excess cash collections within 24 hours in line with the Bank Use Promotion Act.
In line with the need to promote financial transparency, banking and the use of plastic money, manufacturers and suppliers of goods, including fuel, also should not demand cash for any goods supplied to retailers and wholesalers.
Mr Mutashu told Business Chronicle that there was still a huge segment of businesses that were unbanked as well as consumers that were not using formal financial channels.
Meanwhile, there have been calls for monetary authorities to consider slashing service charges for the electronic transactions.
The move is aimed at increasing confidence as well as easing pressure for hard cash at banking centres across the country. — @Kiyaz_Cool