By Alois Vinga
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya has reiterated the apex bank’s resolve to tighten screws on mobile money transfer service providers accused of failing to deal with rampant illicit trade on foreign currency through their platforms.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com Monday, Mangudya said the central bank was keen on widening its surveillance and curbing acts of indiscipline at a time parallel market exchange rates have reached alarming levels.
Mangudya said some transactions conducted via mobile money platforms were stirring chaos on the parallel market.
“The platforms traders are not supervised by the RBZ because we only monitor banks,” said the central bank chief.
“So, from the time the money leaves the bank into these agent lines, we lose oversight and in the process, most shocks causing the rates to jump are emanating from these platforms, hence the plans to bring them under scrutiny.”
The central bank has notified two Ecocash bosses they risked being penalised for failure to professionally run the platform.
Mangudya said the platform was being used as a virtual industry by dealers who were selling foreign currency in what was typical of ponzi schemes.
He said dealers were dictating exchange rates anyhow.
RBZ maintained the stringent measures will continue, insisting further investigations were still being carried out.
“FIU is working flat out to code trace the root causes behind the current parallel exchange rate hikes which have hit alarming levels,” Mangudya said.
Parallel market exchange rates stand at 1:60 against the United States dollar while official or bank rates remain transfixed on 1:25.
Market spectators have levelled the blame on the RBZ which they accuse of smuggling cash onto the black market.
However, Mangudya dismissed the allegations arguing the central bank could not create such problems.
“These problems are caused by behavioural issues which have seen Zimbabweans being very speculative in nature.
“Imagine at a time when the availability of foreign currency is very high on the back of the tobacco selling season, we still see the rates going high,” he said.