October 1, 2019

Zim “mobile” cash ban challenged

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Blessing Munatsi

EcoCash, one of Zimbabwe’s major mobile money transfer platforms, has filed an urgent court application challenging the directive by the country’s central bank to ban cash transactions through the facility.

The Cassava Smartech-owned platform also wants to stop the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe from repeating similar action in future.

The RBZ is cited as the first respondent.

Cassava argues that the directive contravenes the National Payment Systems Act, and that it will shut down the EcoCash system, jeopardising the lives of millions of Zimbabweans who use the platform.

“Pulling down EcoCash could thus mean loss of life, loss of opportunities that could save livelihoods and financial loss running into hundreds of millions if not billions,” reads the application, in part.

On Monday, the RBZ banned mobile cash transactions following widespread abuse of the facility.

Some agents were accused of taking advantage of Zimbabwe’s liquidity problems to sell cash to desperate individuals at a premium.

Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has since revealed a plan by authorities to increase money supply, while his information communication technology counterpart, Minister Kazembe Kazembe, termed the ban a “necessary evil”.

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