Mobile Money and Digital Payments Conference Triggers Debate

OXLINK Capital Private Limited, a financial consultancy company on Thursday (Today)  hosted a Mobile Money and Digital Payments Conference where more than 200 delegates from the financial and mobile institutions gathered to deliberate on issues around the Mobile Money and Branchless Banking Ecosystem.

Running under the theme ” Enhancing Risk Management in the Mobile Money and Branchless Banking Ecosystem” the conference aimed at discussing the progress made over the years to promote interoperability.

Various speakers who included the guest speaker, The ICTPS minister Hon Supa Mandiwanzira with financial and telecommunication regulators had an opportunity to speak from a regulatory point of view.

The minister applauded the industry for driving technological solutions that brought so much convenience  to their customers and the nation at large creating new opportunities for the industry.

Speaking during the conference, Head of Tariffs and Competition for Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) Mrs H. Mutseyikwa said the telecom regulator is on course and almost there to allow interoperability.

“Yes we are on course and almost there on the issue of interoperability, there has been serious input towards the processs and it is now almost complete”, Mutseyekwa said.

Asked on why it has taken long for the regulator to allow Mobile Number Portability in Zimbabwe (MNP), where mobile telephone users are allowed to retain their mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile network carrier to another, Mutseyekwa said the market hasn’t been responding and for that reason the regulator is now taking the leading role under the pretext of market failure circumstance.

” Under normal circumstances the facility is market driven rather than the provider leading the role, but because the market is not responsive, POTRAZ is now intervening as the regulator,” said Mutseyekwa.

Mutseyekwa’s financial regulatory counterpart Mr Mutepfa, the Director National Payments for RBZ applauded the banking sector for rolling out several Point of Sale Machines (POS) to promote plastic money in the local  economy where hard currency is difficult to come by.

Apparently, financial players  are investing in technology that enables ” banking the unbanked”.  Mutepfa said his institution as the regulator  will continue to cultivate and create an enabling legal regulatory environment. Since the deployment of POS in 2009, the number has increased to more than 17 000 from 2 500 in 2009.

In as much as the service providers have done so well in promoting plastic money through POS Machines, they bemoaned the high costs that come with such technology. ” We are pleading with the government to review their duty on products like Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and POS Machines as purchasing them come with huge figures. One ATM costs $30 000 while a POS Machine is pegged at $500, both are exclusive of duty,” said Divisional Director of CBZ Bank Mr Matembo.

Some of the speakers included General Manager for Ecocash, Ms Jabangwa who spoke on how ready the local market on Near Field Communication ( NFC), Head of Mobile Financial Services with Telecel Ms Masunda touched on the International Remittances topic primarily focusing on the role of mobile money for the behavioral pattern of inflows.

Mr Chiremba who is the Director of Financial Intelligence Unit for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) warned the mobile money and agent banking over money laundering and terrorist financing. ” Financing terrorism acts doesn’t require lots of money as some may presume, these platforms (mobile and agent) can be used to facilitate money laundering and terrorism. So you have to be very careful to avoid getting into hot soup,” he warned the service providers.

 

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