Zimbabwe is grappling with a biting liquidity crunch which has led to the closure of several businesses. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is calling on Zimbabweans to embrace plastic money to mitigate the cash crisis. While it eyes 80 percent usage of plastic money five years, the public seems to be uninterested in using this virtual currency.
Although the public usage of plastic money has surged by 150 percent following the announcement by the government to adopt this electronic payment method, much still needs to be done to educate Zimbabweans on the benefits.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Government in a bid to promote plastic money usage, slashed bank charges Information and Communication Technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira said the cash crisis presents a perfect opportunity for Zimbabwe to adopt plastic money.
“Zimbabweans are an interesting lot. They wait for crises to embrace solutions.For instance, it only took the depreciation of the South African rand for them to embrace bond coins. Now I hope this cash crisis will spur them to accept plastic money as this is the solution we are looking for,” he said.
“Embracing electronic payment options will surely go a long way in reducing the reliance on cash businesses and individuals,” he added.
An economic expert Francis Mukora noted that a significant percentage of GDP can be realised in the form of savings if Zimbabwe is able to shift from cash to an electronic-based transaction system. “
“Mobile phones and other ICT applications can replace current dependency on brick and mortar structures in offering financial services to the general public.
This debit card facility however, got a cold reception from the public which was targeted to use it.
“The new EcoCash Debit Card is a MasterCard that does it all! It is directly linked to your EcoCash wallet and allows you to pay for goods and services locally and internationally and even make secure online payments! The balance on your EcoCash Debit Card is the same as the balance on your EcoCash wallet.
However,a snap survey by TechnoMag has discovered that the Ecocash Debitcard is used by 3 out of every ten people who have it. This entails that much needs to be done in educating the public about this service.
While the public is aware of EcoCash ta, the NFC (Near Field Communication) powered payment system that was introduced by Econet, this system was extended to the kombi operators and commuters offering the users a 25 cent discount. .
Econet in trying to take this service to the public aggressively advertised this service, branding Combis. This service seems to be a damp squib because as a commuter I am yet to use it.
It is a Mary-go-round scenario where one has to come back to the question whether Zimbabweans are ready to go cashless.