Disbursements through banks’ automated teller machines (ATMs) dropped by 29% last month to $18,85 million, latest statistics have shown, as the cash crisis worsens.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
In September, ATMs disbursed $26,62 million.
In the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) weekly economic reports for October, the decline in ATM withdrawals was at a rate of 7,6 times on a week-on-week basis.
“The total value of transactions processed through the national payment system (NPS) increased by 20% to close the week under review at $2 045,41 million. This was mainly driven by a 25% increase in the value of real time gross settlement (RTGS) transactions, from $1 165,07 million in the previous week, to $1 453,70 million during the week ending October 27 2017,” the central banks said in an October 27 weekly economic report.
“The distribution of NPS transactions in value terms was as follows: RTGS (71,07%), mobile (18,06%), point of sale (10,61%), ATM (0,20%) and cheque at 0,05%.”
RBZ said the NPS transaction volumes increased by 1% to close the week ending October 27 2017 at 24 965 742.
“In terms of contributions to the total volume of NPS transactions, mobile transactions were highest at 75,08%, followed by point of sale 23,94%, real time gross settlement 0,55%, ATM 0,41% and cheque 0,02%,” the central bank said.
In the first week ending October 6, disbursements from ATMs was 5,29 million which was actually an increase from the previous week by 22%.
However, in the following week, ATM disbursements dropped by 10% to $4,77 million, the following week it dropped by 3% to $4,63 million, further dropping by 10% in the week ending October 27 to $4,16 million.
The week on week drop translated to a slump in ATM transaction volumes, showing depositors continue to lose confidence in the banking system on a daily basis.
By the end of October, transactions were reported to be 102 472, a decline from the first week of the month by about 20%.
To deal with this, the central bank governor John Mangudya told the State-owned paper last week that the draw down $300 million bond notes previously announced in his 2017 Mid-Term Monetary Policy statement would begin at the end of this month.
But, analysts say this will also mean that the current $200 million bond notes facility would have been exhausted.
Both the $200 million and $300 million bond notes are supported by Afreximbank facilities of the same amounts.
Cash shortages in bank vaults are evident as financial institutions such as Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe, FBC Bank, BancABC, and CBZ Bank have reported having less than $10 million.
CABS reported having under $4 million in their 2017 half year report.
The low levels of cash come despite there being $261 million cash in circulation, $204 million in bond notes and coins and $57 million in foreign currency, as at the end of June.