Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Deputy Governor, Dr Jesimen Chipika says the liquidity crunch currently bedeviling the nation is a welcome development as it promotes the use of “plastic money” and online banking.
Dr Chipika was speaking at the Quiz and Debate Awards Night and Fundraising Cocktail hosted by The Global Foundation of Public Speaking (GFPS) where she also encouraged school going children to take up financial literacy challenge.
She added that Zimbabwe has been lagging behind in terms of online banking hence the liquidity crisis has seen people adopting internet banking.
“We have been way behind when we were trying to use hard cash, especially the US dollar because most of the transactions worldwide are now being done online and plastic money. This has been causing us a lot of unnecessary stress and and very abnormal to the whole economy and the whole population.
“To me, the economic hardships have been good as they have driven us in the right direction where we are saying as the central bank and financial sector, almost 80% of our formal transactions are now via plastic and mobile money.
“This is good in that it also help us with financial inclusion especially in the rural areas where more people find it easy to use this mode as compared to when they had to hustle to get money. in rural centers , One Wallet and Ecocash have helped a lot,” she said .
Dr Chipika said the central bank is working on engaging mobile money service providers to reduce the transaction charges, which have been a bit high thereby scaring people from using online and mobile money transfer.
“We do not have control on the charges but we use moral persuasion where we tell the providers that they should heed the call by their clients to reduce the charges, so we are moving in to make sure that it a win-win situation,”
Meanwhile, Dr Chipika refuted claims that more bond notes would be injected into the economy as there is currently no need to do so.
“The issue about bond notes is tricky in that the notes were introduced as a drip feeding scheme as a reward to exporters who bring foreign currency into the country. they we never introduced to juice the economy in terms of cash.
“Bond notes only come into our banks and to ordinary people at the rate at which exports are taking place, that is when they can be awash. if they are awash now, then there will be inflation, which we dont need,” she noted.
She urged business people with external accounts to heed the call by President Emmerson Mnangagwa , where he urged the return of externalized funds into the economy.
Dr Chipika said this will ease the liquidity crisis in the country.