Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
METRO Peech Wholesalers in Bulawayo is refusing plastic money and Real Time Gross Settlements (RTGS) platforms from customers when buying cooking oil, claiming suppliers of the commodity are accepting cash payments only.
Cooking oil is one of the products listed under Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, which removes several goods from the Open General Import Licence (OGIL).
The new regulation was promulgated in June this year to control cheap imports entering the country.
An employee at the wholesale who preferred anonymity said local cooking oil producers were demanding cash payments to import critical raw materials required in producing the commodity.
“As you might be aware Zimbabwe no longer imports cooking oil, the local manufacturers are demanding cash payments on cooking oil orders that we book so that they can import critical raw materials. It is only cooking oil where we are demanding cash payments from our customers,” said the worker.
“We have also received a directive from the head office to accept cash payments only on cooking oil. We are not accepting RTGS and plastic money on cooking oil.”
A manager at the wholesale, Mr Eeben Ncube also confirmed the suspension of electronic payments such as plastic money on cooking oil from their customers.
“We are buying cooking oil on cash basis from suppliers. I have not really found out why that is so. Maybe it is an issue about where they are getting their raw materials. For further details get in touch with our director in Harare, Mr Barry Brown,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Mr Brown were fruitless as he was said to be out of office.
However, a snap survey carried out by Business Chronicle in Bulawayo yesterday revealed that three of the other city wholesalers were accepting electronic payments on cooking oil and other products.
Oil Expressers’ Association of Zimbabwe president Mr Sylvester Mangani had not responded to written questions by the time of going to print yesterday.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Busisa Moyo who is also the chief executive officer of United Refineries Limited, a leading cooking oil producing company, could also not be reached for comment as his mobile phone was not reachable.
Since April, Zimbabwe has been experiencing cash shortages due to illicit financial leakages on the market.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya has encouraged the transacting public to make use of electronic payment systems and plastic money to ease the current cash shortages.
As a short and medium term measure to ease the cash shortage, Dr Mangudya said the monetary authorities are introducing $200 million worth of bond notes guaranteed by the African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank).
Bond notes are expected to start circulating in a few weeks’ time.