Zimbabwe banks setting up bulk payments software

By Staff reporter | 03 Jul 2019 at 18:31hrs
Zimbabwe banks are in the process of setting up a software that allows bulk payments and is expected to be functional end of this month. This comes after, Paynet Zimbabwe, suspended local banks from its transacting platform following their refusal to pay in foreign currency for its services.

At a breakfast meeting, hosted by The Institute of Charted Accountants Zimbabwe (ICAZ), on the implications of currency reforms on business, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) deputy director, economic policy & research division William Kavila said banks have developed alternative means of payments.

Banks are using other payment services such as RTGS, ZIPIT, internet, card (POS) and mobile money payments to serve the transacting public. Kavila said, financial institutions have also devised mechanisms to allow for exchange of electronic payment files.

"In line with continued innovation and to further enhance efficiency, banks are working on a fully fledged bulk payments local solution which is expected to go live end of July 2019," he said.

In cutting ties with local banks, Paynet revealed that it lost over US$170 000 providing for its services in March and April this year, adding banks as a result collectively owe US$470 000 for over 4 million transactions concluded since May 1, 2019. The platform is also used by corporates to facilitate its payments.

Speaking at the same event, Businessman Shingi Munyenza said the country needs to deal with confidence deficit.

"Our nation is divided politically, so once we get President Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC leader Nelson Chamisa to talk, we ease the tension and we bring confidence to our new financial policies," he said.

Problems that the southern African nation is facing, Munyenza said, is bad governance, inconsistency policy framework and implementation, toxic politics, contested election results and bad human rights and freedoms record. He highlighted that, there is ineffective communication on policy and in some cases it's just propaganda.

"When you broke trust you can't continue to rely on propaganda you must deliver facts of what is going on."

Capital and money market expert, Itai Chirume said the use of the multi-currency has merely been curtailed rather than abolished. He said the in a highly informalised market as Zimbabwe, a lot of demand for foreign currency is going to capacitate economic activities that is outside the formal market.

"So it means that if the interbank remains elitist the parallel market is going to be difficult to kill because it will remain a viable source of foreign currency for the informal market."

Economist Eddie Cross said there is no interbank market. "We have a well-run stock exchange and if the same was done for the foreign exchange, things would be different.
The RBZ needs to get the monetary policy committee set up to get a genuine rate that reflects supply and demand," he said.

Local industry requires US$162 million a month to bring the 5 commodities which are in critical short of supply, Cross added.

However, US$13 million is required on daily basis. The commodities includes fuel, electricity and maize, wheat and soya beans.

In the outlook, the central bank projects that pricing and accounting would be easier under a single domestic currency and unified exchange rate framework. In the same vein, exchange rate expected to stabilize and inflation rate to decline in the medium term.