Source: Government to ban multiple pricing | The Financial Gazette February 16, 2018
GOVERNMENT is one step closer to criminalising the prevailing multi-pricing system and refusal by business operators of plastic money through a Bill expected to pass through Parliament this year.
In 2017, Zimbabwe saw the emergence of a multiple pricing system, with merchants using different prices for products based on the mode of payment.
This practice, which has been influenced by cash shortages in the country, has been more prevalent in the informal market, which dominates the economy and contributed 67 percent to GDP 2015, according to a study published by the International Monetary Fund recently.
Some informal sector players have argued that they do not have gadgets for electronic payments.
The government has been pushing for a “cash-lite society” against the backdrop of foreign currency shortages that have limited the import of US dollar bank notes that had dominated transactions under a multiple currency regime.
Government gazetted a Bill in December that seeks to, among other things, amend The Bank Use Promotion Act to include a section targeted at promoting the use of electronic modes of payment by curbing the multi-pricing system and refusal of plastic money.
According Veritas’ Bill Watch, the Finance Bill of 2018 has passed through Parliament and is now before the Senate.
In its current state, the Bill will add a clause to The Bank Use Promotion Act, which enforces the mandatory acceptance of payment through electronic means by every designated payee.
“Every designated payee shall, if a person tenders payment for its goods or services by electronic means instead of cash or partly by cash and partly by electronic means, accept the tender of such payment.” reads the clause.
The Bill also seeks to prohibit charging different prices for goods and services based on mode of payment.
“No designated payee shall charge or apply a premium or discount to the price of its goods or services on the basis that the person has paid for its goods or services by cash or electronic means instead of cash, or partly by cash and partly by electronic means,” it said.
If the Bill passes into law, every merchant will be required to have a point of sale machine by the April 1, or have a system in place that allows for electronic payments through mobile phones and or computers.
“Every existing designated payee must, by the 1st April, 2018,
acquire any device that facilitates the electronic payment for its goods or services (commonly known as a “point of sale machine”); or facilitate the payment for its goods or services electronically by the use of a mobile telephonic device or a computer,” said the planned amendment to The Bank Use Promotion Act.