RTGS payments decline

HARARE - Transactions that passed through the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system in the week to March 29, 2018 were down 14 percent to close the week at $1,5 billion from $1,7 billion, official data shows.

In its report for the week under review, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) said the total value of transactions processed through the National Payments System (NPS) also declined 12 percent from $2,4 billion recorded in the previous week to $2,1 billion.

“In volume terms, NPS transactions decreased by three percent, from 28,760,800 in the previous week to close the week under review at 27,932,678 transactions,” the report said.

In the week under review, mobile-based transactions accounted for 92,68 percent in terms of total volumes and contributed $441,3 million in terms of value, 17 percent down from $518 million recorded prior year.

Point of Sale (Pos) transactions decreased 68,2 percent in terms of volume contributions in the week under review to contribute $92,8 million in terms of values down from $197 million.

The total value of transactions processed through the NPS was distributed as follows: RTGS, 71,24 percent; mobile, 24,23 percent; Point of Sale (Pos), 4,34 percent; Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), 0,14 percent and cheque transactions, 0,04 percent.

At a little over $3 million ATM values were down six percent to $3,2 million.

The increase in virtual transactions is reflective of a deliberate stance migrating to electronic payments from cash transactions indicated by a slump in ATM payments.

Most banks have stopped importing United States dollar notes because the largest component of money within the banking system is unsupported by real currency through imports.

Zimbabwe adopted a multiple currency regime in 2009 to escape hyperinflation, with use of the greenback dominating transactions.

But availability of US dollar notes started declining in 2016, with critics blaming government for repaying local debts using electronic funds transfers, in the process depleting the stock of foreign currency in the banking system.

This led to a depletion of the stock of notes in the economy, which was compounded by huge imports which also meant the export of currency from the economy.

In response to the worsening cash crisis, government and the RBZ have encouraged the use of plastic money, which resulted in the roll out of more point of sale terminals in supermarkets, pharmacies and other retail businesses and government departments.

In his Treasury bulletin recently, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa is on record saying the manufacturing sector experienced growth in 2017 due to a number of government initiatives to improve the business environment as well as the growing use of plastic money and e-transactions.

Plastic money, he said, was “easing the liquidity challenge for the benefit of the industrial activities”.


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