Potraz together with the RBZ and the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) have carried out a consumer and community engagement outreach program yesterday in Binga to conscientize the community on issues to do with mobile money, e-banking, and consumer protection.
Speaking on behalf of Potraz Director General Gift Machengete, Potraz Director Of Economics, Tariff and Competition Hilda Mutseyekwa said the regulator’s vision is to bring ICT development in underserviced areas.
The Binga community has however bemoaned the pricing of the current tariffs for voice, data and SMS which they claim is now beyond their reach. In response, Potraz said the currently approved tariffs were below the amounts that mobile network operators had initially requested to charge.
“We actually approved a tariff that is way less than what operators wanted,” said Mrs Mutseyekwa who was representing Potraz director general Dr Gift Machengete.
“Have you realised that telecommunication tariffs are relatively lower that other products such as sugar?” she asked.
Other concerns raised include absence of operators to deal with consumer problems such as sim card replacements and airtime.
Only Econet has a branch in Binga.
Further, the residents said they are choked by high charges of accessing funds from Ecocash agents and expiry of weekly data bundles before using them due to power outages.
The residents also want more banks to facilitate ease of operations as Agribank is the only bank in the area.
The consumer and community engagement outreach programme held in Binga was a first if its kind and falls in line with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) standards and recommendations where collaboration of regulators is encouraged.
The involvement of CCZ, to meet consumers in this era of rapid technological environment, is seen as critical to ensure they are not prejudiced.