#OutAndAbout: Cashless Zimbabwe, A Pipe-dream

The cash shortage problem in Zimbabwe continues to persist and despite many instruments having been  put in place to mitigate this crisis, no positive results have been reaped as yet, in fact, things are getting worse.

With people paying about 50% premium to get their hands on hard cash in Zimbabwe, one wonders whether a cashless Zimbabwe is even a possibility given the many political and financial problems the country faces. In a survey by TechnoMag OutandAbout, a number of people said Zimbabwe a long way from embracing a cashless environment full throttle.

 By Pearson Mbendera 

We have a poor banking system, and I cannot trust the bank with my hard earned money when I’m not even sure it will be there tomorrow, we lost our monies when we switched from our Zimbabwe dollar to the multicurrency regime.  

In developed countries, people hardly use cash, resorting to the use of credit cards, visa or master cards to make daily transactions. But we don’t have that, the use of bank cards; kuswiper is something relatively new to us. People are used to a system where they get paid and go to the bank and withdraw all their money. The banks don’t even offer an interests and their charges are exorbitant. My money will be chewed up rather than multiplying, and because of that, I cannot afford to save any money, there is no incentive to save at all,” said Tatenda Marihoho.

Local companies aren’t doing well meaning that Zimbabwe has to depend on imports to sustain the needs of the economy. Locally made products can’t even compete locally with imported goods on price and quality, rendering them even less competitive in the international market. Zimbabwe ends up paying more in foreign currency than what it receives, and that mismatch will only drain our foreign currency coffers.

Patience Mashingaudze, an unemployed girl said she has no need of maintaining a bank account since I do not even have any means to earn money.

“Why do I even need a bank account when I don’t even have a job and a regular source of income? I will end up incurring expenses that I will struggle to pay for.”

The cash crisis has even offered an arbitrage opportunity to the many unemployed people in Zimbabwe who buy cash and sell it at a higher price, creating a different problem altogether, something that even hurts the chances of going completely cashless.

The financial problems we are having are just too many, from government debt to the lack of capital that has crippled the ability of companies to function properly and bring about the much needed foreign currency.

Maybe time will come when Zimbabwe is ready to go cashless, but for now, it is not possible. We have to sort out some of the issues we are having right now

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