RBZ puts 50,000 EcoCash agents out of work

By Staff reporter | 01 Oct 2019 at 17:09hrs
The Reserve Bank on Monday effectively put 50,000 EcoCash agents out of work after banning cash-in and cash-out services.

EcoCash agents are accused of "engaging in illegal activities" including selling cash at a premium.

The central bank also banned the use of the cash-back service when customers pay with cards at Point of Sale machines, saying shops were no longer banking cash through abuse of the facility.

"Notable activities include the buying and selling of cash through mobile money agents at high rates above the approved charges for cash-in and cash-out with some economic agents not banking cash sales under the disguise of cash-back services," said Josephat Mutepfa, the RBZ's deputy director of financial markets and payment systems.

Mutepfa said the actions had the "negative effect of distorting the pricing of goods and services."

Strive Masiyiwa, the founder of EcoCash's parent company, Econet Wireless, last week said the RBZ should take the blame for starving the market of cash, creating opportunities for arbitrage.

"EcoCash does not have any money. The cash [bank notes] belongs to the agent. Why is there such a shortage of bank notes in the first place, that it becomes possible to sell banknotes? Why? Where in the world does that happen?" Masiyiwa wrote on Facebook on September 20.

Masiyiwa said stopping EcoCash agents from dispensing cash was unlikely to stop the practice of people with cash selling it to those holding electronic dollars.

He added: "Why do the banks not dispense cash like banks around the world? Why? Let's first understand the problem: This is simply symptomatic of hyperinflation. In case you have not realised, Zimbabwe has the highest hyperinflation in the world right now. If you address the causes of hyperinflation, this problem disappears."



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