Zimbabwe Lacks Clear Policy On Digital Money!

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Lack of clear policy framework on Zimbabwe’s mobile money has become a cause of concern forcing the sector to self-regulate, hence creating an unfair playing field for various players leading the sector to plunge into protracted battles.

Speaking during the recently held mobile money and digital payments conference and awards, the minister of ICT Postal and Courier Services Hon Supa Mandiwanzira said there is need for interoperability amongst players and sharing of resources thereof.

By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito

The Minister mentioned the need for transparency in declaring assets of investments in the ICT infrastructure as some players are claiming large investments, yet the same figures are not tallying on the actual amount of tax paid.

He added that, these loopholes are a clear sign that we will continue doing firefighting as long as the government does not lay out a clear policy on the trending technologies which in most cases have caused operators to be loggerheads in Zimbabwe.

Speaking in a sideline interview with TechnoMag during the conference and awards ceremony, the technology expert and analyst Mr. Pumula Khanyile said that the responsible authorities need to be proactive and stop being reactive to technological changes if we are to progress in Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwe is always reacting to the technological changes and trying to play catch up on issues of policy as the responsible authorities have seldom been caught flat footed,” bemoaned Khanyile.

Previously Econet were at loggerheads with local banks as they refused to open up their EcoCash mobile platform, a move which saw the banks ganging up against them, before Potraz moved the matter of its table suggesting that it was not within their jurisdiction, before the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe intervened.

Today the most contentious issue is on sharing infrastructure where some operators are not comfortable with it, while the same issue is very clear with other nations as their policies clearly define the parameters.

There is inadequacy of regulatory framework, both the RBZ Potraz could not even clearly state their timeline and roadmap towards mobile money regulation.
The deposit protection corporation also did not highlight a clear framework of e-value deposit protection in the event of mobile money operator failure, or what happens to the deposit should one decease.
While it is a common cause for banks to charge interests on deposits, we do not even have a framework in Zimbabwe which defines interest on e-value or any deposits which are left dormant on mobile money accounts, which is a potential prejudice on interest on the subscriber.
The morning session was preceded by mobile money and digital payments which recognised Zimbabwe`s most outstanding and innovative players in the sector.
The adjudicators of the awards are renowned experts from various fields which are closely related to the sector who sat down to agree on the best winner of the award after a thorough weigh in against a standard benchmark.

The team comprised of Pumula Kanyile C.E.O Mtilikwe Financial Services who Previously was Head of IT @ Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe
, Garainashe Changunda a Partner, HLB Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants, Chris Takunda Mugaga the C.E.O of Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce
An Economist by Profession Rosemary Siyachitema the Executive, Director Consumer Council of Zimbabwe and
Former National General Secretary, YMCA Zimbabwe. Shame Makoshori a Senior Business Reporter @ Financial Gazette
with over 12 years Business Reporting, Brains Muchemwa and Toneo Tonderai Rutsito the Editor and Founder, Technomag, an Online Technology Magazine in Zimbabwe

The team looked into the following guiding points
1. Distinction: How distinct is the Nominee from the rest? Does it have game-changing advantages over competition?

2. Impact – Evaluating immediate and long term social and economic impact of the product or service that is being offered by the Nominee. (Social Impact: How has it made life for families and communities better? Economic Impact: The extent to which the product/service impact s on employment creation, trade, wealth creation etc)

3. Reliability – How dependable is the product/ service? How consistent is it?

4. Top of the mind awareness – How ready does the brand come into the mind of customers when they think of that particular service?

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