Kiyapili Sibanda, Business Reporter
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) has admitted that some of its members are hoarding cash and abusing the cashback facility.
The association said the collaboration between the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), retailers and wholesalers on measures to enhance regulatory compliance is a commendable measure towards restoring market discipline in the economy.
In an interview, CZR president Mr Denford Mutashu said some retailers have been abusing the cash back facility taking advantage of market shortages.
“We realised that the cash-back facility was heavily abused by some retailers. For example, data collected by the RBZ suggests that one retailer banked $10 million and the other $30 million was used for cash-back facility. But investigations revealed that the retailer did not even offer a cash-back facility,” he said.
Mr Mutashu said measures to enhance regulatory compliance and use of plastic money in business transactions would ensure smooth circulation of currency in the economy and ease of transacting.
He urged all retailers and wholesalers to adhere to the relevant guidelines and regulations governing their operations as stipulated by the RBZ including restrictions on cash-back to $20.
Mr Mutashu said the collaboration with RBZ came after meetings with the central bank over concerns that some retailers were hoarding cash.
“We held a series of meetings with the RBZ when we realised that some retailers were hoarding cash and not complying with provisions of the Bank Use Promotion Act. Some retailers were even hoarding cash and this is not healthy for the economy,” said Mr Mutashu.
“Coming up with this regulatory framework will help restore market discipline in the economy and we hope they (retailers) will comply.”
He told Business Chronicle that dialogue was the best way forward adding that some retailers have been arrested and appeared before the courts for contravening the Bank Use Promotion Act.
Mr Mutashu said his organisation was working tirelessly with the banking sector for the installation of Point of Sale (POS) machines to promote the use of plastic money.
“We are working tirelessly with the banking sector for the installation of POS machines for retailers. This also helps to promote the use of plastic money and it will be convenient to consumers when paying for goods and services,” he said.
Mr Mutashu said the restriction on cash-back to $20 was meant to eliminate that loophole. He said his organisation was not happy with foreign-owned retailers who were externalising cash and warned that perpetrators risk being prosecuted.
“I’m actually not happy with foreign nationals who are running businesses here and are in the habit of externalising cash. We are working closely with the RBZ and those found wanting will definitely face the music,” said Mr Mutashu.
He bemoaned unfair pricing and demands for cash especially in the fuel industry saying collective efforts were needed to restore market confidence.
Meanwhile, Mr Mutashu said businesses that are in the habit of practicing a three-tier pricing system must stop forthwith and conform to Government policies so as to promote sanity in the economy.