Cash-back cut to $20

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Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has with immediate effect ordered retailers and wholesalers to limit the cash-back facility to a maximum of $20 as it tightens cash flow supervision to promote the use of plastic money, curb money laundering and tax evasion.

Handlers of large amounts of cash like retailers and wholesalers will now be required to deposit huge amounts of money in banks within 24 hours of receipt while keeping records of all their business transactions.

The Central Bank also outlawed the three tier pricing system where different prices are quoted for cash, RTGS and point of sale customers.

In a statement yesterday, the apex bank said it had set up a policy framework that seeks to instil discipline in the retail and wholesale sectors in line with the Bank Use Promotion Act [Chapter 24:24].

“Any cash-back facility made available by retailers and wholesalers shall not exceed an amount of $20.00,” read the statement.

“Retailers and wholesalers shall be enjoined, in compliance with the provisions of the Bank Use Promotion Act [Chapter 24:24], to bank the cash generated from their businesses and maintain records of all transactions (including purchases, sales, discounts and banking).”

To protect retailers and wholesalers from failing to restock, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said suppliers should not demand cash from them.

“In line with the need to promote financial transparency, banking and the use of plastic money, manufacturers and suppliers of goods, including fuel, should not demand cash for any goods supplied to retailers and wholesalers. In that regard, any dispensation and matching arrangements previously granted to certain sectors are hereby revoked,” read the RBZ statement.

It said the policy is guided by the operating environment of retails and wholesales that constitute the largest circulators of cash transactions.

The bank also reiterated its commitment to promote convenience for the public while dealing with money laundering and tax evasion.

“In drawing up the framework, the Reserve Bank has been guided by the realities of the prevailing trading patterns, whereby 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,” read the statement.  The central bank said it was important for retailers and wholesalers to follow the regulations guiding their operations, to ensure the smooth circulation of currency in the economy and ease of transacting.

The RBZ said to ensure the policy is followed, it will increase access to Point of Sale (POS) machines.

The bank said the three tier pricing system will not be tolerated.

“Retailers and wholesalers shall sell any particular product for the same price irrespective of the mode of payment and desist from multiple pricing of goods on account of mode of payment (cash, Real Times Gross Settlement (RTGS) and Point of Sale or a combination of any two or more of them).”

“For the avoidance of doubt, retailers and wholesalers shall not charge any premium for the sale and purchase of their wares on the basis of mode of payment. Similarly any cash or quantity discount shall, in accordance with best practice, be granted in the normal course of business and not on the basis of the multiple pricing system.”

The country is experiencing serious cash shortages which have seen people queuing for hours to withdraw as little as $50 daily- when cash is available- at banks.

To address the cash crunch, the RBZ has promoted the use of plastic money.

Last year, the central bank also introduced bond notes as a means of dealing with externalisation of the US$.

The measures provided temporary relief before the queues resurfaced.

— @nqotshili

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