Illicit money dealers in Harare CBD have been trading low and finding it hard to operate with their usual transactions following Ecocash compliance with Reserve bank of Zimbabwe directive to suspend agent and merchant lines Techno mag can reveal.
Business hasn’t been usual for money changers as the suspension has disrupted their daily operations with the directive affecting all mobile money operators Ecocash , Tele cash and One money.
Ecocash has being rampant on the parallel market in terms of money transfers with One money gaining momentum as well as of late.
Mobile money platform Econet recently suspended all agent and merchant transactions after government last week issued a directive to ban mobile money services with immediate effect to allow investigations of illegal dealings fuelling the black market.
Following the ban Ecocash then went on to issue a public notice to its customers “Following communication from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, please be advised that with immediate effect, the following changes apply: All agent and bulk payer lines are suspended.
“This, therefore, means that cash-in, cash-out services have been suspended until further notice.”
While the directive was issued a means to cripple the black market, money changers on the streets have been hit hard.
Speaking to techno Mag money changers on the streets , they expressed how business has shifted for them in a short while.
“My Agent line was closed , that has drastically changed my business operations I survive on this business and this has greatly affected my hustles, “ said one of the money changers at Copacabana rank.
A young money changer from first street said , “We have written letters to the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe so that they move our money from the Agent lines to the bank , by doing so we hope to then operate using ZIPIT transactions.”
“ Things have changed business is now low as im now only trading with bond notes , “he said
RBZ tightening the screws on money changers has seen them resorting to their own personal lines for transactions.
“ I am now transacting using my personal line , but it is actually a big challenge as the line limits my transactions.”
“I have already reached my daily limit of ZWL$5000 and now waiting for the next day which is actually very inconvenient for my business, “ said a 4th rank money changer.
The move to ban mobile money transfers is being considered as part of government efforts to deal with the prevailing black market situation being fueled more by agent lines.
This is not really something new , RBZ previously issued a directive which resulted in almost 54, 000 agent lines being closed and the matter was taken to court with Econet challenging the move.
In May this year the RBZ said said it was investigating suspected money laundering activities which are driving the parallel forex market and applying pressure on the weak local currency.
Ecocash won the court case , resulting in reopening of closed lines , Money changers still hope and believe things will go about that turn this time as well.
A money changer from Copa Cabbana rank said , “ Its something that happened before our agent lines were closed , our business was disrupted but, we are just hoping they reopen , we are in the streets not by choice but, by circumstances.”
Meanwhile , normal mobile transactions have not been suspended.