Zimbabwe is facing a serious cash shortage as evidenced by long queues which have become a common phenomenon at all banks throughout the country.
What has worsened the situation is that the transacting public seems to have taken too long to embrace the use of plastic money.
Many people are reluctant to use their bank cards to buy or pay for goods and services. What is surprising is that some of the people who spend hours to withdraw cash at the banks are seen soon after receiving the cash heading for retail outlets which have Point of Sale machines (swipe machines) to buy groceries using the cash.
It is a fact that many of the people who spend many productive hours in bank queues do not need the cash because whatever payment they want to make can be done through alternatives such as bank transfers, RTGS or swipe machines.
The challenge to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and all other banks is therefore to educate the banking public to appreciate the importance of using plastic money.
Many businesses now have POS machines to enable the transacting public to use plastic money so there is no excuse for workers to waste production hours queueing at banks to get cash every month. The RBZ has said the solution to the cash shortage challenges being experienced is for the country to increase exports and earn the much needed foreign currency. What has to be understood and appreciated is that this cannot be achieved overnight as some misguided elements want us to believe.
It is a fact that some of those that are controlling the capital in the country at the moment are our worst enemies hence they are doing all within their powers to sabotage the economy. The suffering of the people caused by their acts of putting spanners in the works is what they relish. These are the same people guilty of externalisation of foreign currency which has forced Government to put in place measures to control foreign currency that individuals or companies can take out of the country.
Many of them are however still finding ways of smuggling out the foreign currency and the challenge to Government is to continue plugging the loopholes.
It is these same persons that are realising millions of dollars from their businesses but are not banking the cash. We want at this juncture to commend Government for coming hard on those violating the Bank Use Promotion Act by not banking their money.
One of the companies, Builders Home was last week fined $17 000 for cash hoarding while the courts are yet to determine the cases of the other two companies, Bathroom Boutique and Eurostar, facing the same charges. The Government, we want to believe, by prosecuting the companies, wants to send a very clear message that it will punish severely any company found sabotaging the economy.
It is such companies that are contributing to the cash shortages that the country is experiencing. The RBZ last December introduced bond notes as part of measures to ease cash shortages but these have again been wiped out by these same unscrupulous business persons that want to see the economy on its knees.
Those companies that have been hoarding the cash should stop forthwith or risk being fined large sums of money. Businesses that are working against the growth of the economy are the country’s number one enemy and should either mend their ways or leave the country.
We want to call on the RBZ to intensify its surveillance on companies’ operations so that those that decide to hoard cash thereby violating the Bank Use Promotion Act are punished.