Zimbabwe is currently going through a cash dry spell which has forced the central bank to introduce some stringent cash control measures so as to regulate outflow of cash.
The shortage of cash is evidenced by long queues at banking halls and ATM’s points. Even though a large number of Zimbabweans today boast of having Visa or Mastercards, the whole system has been irrelevant by the massive withdrawal reductions that have been effected by the apex bank.
By Marvelous Chibagidi
In this week’s #Out and About TechnoMag got to talk to Zimbabwean students in Cyprus and how they are being affected by the cash crisis which seems to be getting worse each day.
In February this year, EcoCash Mastercard reduced withdrawal limits to $400 which was later split into two separate transactions of US$200 for ATM cashouts and US$200 for POS (point of sale) transactions and virtual payments which cover online purchases. Many Zimbabwean students especially those who didn’t have bank accounts opted for the Ecocash debit card but the plight seems not to be any different even with students who are using other international banks like Standard Chartered and Barclays.
Most students abroad have have rentals, food and bus-fare obligations to meet with some of the rentals fetching as as high as $800 per month which means one need two debit cards to be able pay off rent.
”Waking up to news of a slash in withdrawal limits by Ecocash Mastercard which has been the most reliable source of accessing funds from Zimbabwe has left some of our colleagues in a catch 24 situation. Some have even returned to the motherland not because they were done with their studies but because they failed to pay what is due to further their education,” said Kudzai Mandizha.
Other students who spoke to us also said the cash crisis had exposed them to serious dangers as most are falling prey to other foreign nationals who have the necessary sources who take advantage of them because of their predicament.
In other cases the universities are said to have resorted to try and extend registration dates so as to allow all African students an opportunity to pay whats due for the semester.