Govt to ease forex exchange challenges through agents

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Govt to ease forex exchange challenges through agents 
Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion David Mnangagwa

Trust Freddy Herald Correspondent

People should soon be able to access bureaux de change for small foreign exchange transactions at the official exchange rate and the Government plans to allow the return of mobile wallet agents as part of ongoing efforts to promote the use of the electronic ZiG and to ensure legal foreign currency trading.

Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Deputy Minister, Mr David Mnangagwa, told Parliament last week that Government was working closely with the private sector to facilitate small transactions, allowing citizens to access foreign currency legally and conveniently.

This follows the suspension of more than 4 000 EcoCash agents in 2020 on allegations of participating in the then rampant trend of charging excessive premiums for customers intending to cash in their mobile money.

He announced the change in policy in the Senate last week while responding to Senators’ queries on measures taken by the Government to address illegal foreign currency trading.

“We are working on a solution as Government, coupled with the private sector, to allow for small transactions, that is the general populace to be able to get the small amounts, $20 or $50, through negotiations with our mobile network operators to be able to access the bureaux de change that are on their EcoCash or Netcash platforms.

“This means if you have an Econet line and if you register for EcoCash, you can convert from ZiG to US dollars, or from US dollars to ZiG at the official exchange rate. That is the first part to allow interchangeability without having to go to the streets,” the Deputy Minister said.

This move is expected to promote financial inclusion, reduce reliance on the black market for the small transactions and increase the use of electronic ZiG.

The plan, the Deputy Minister said, also involved reactivating EcoCash agents across the country, particularly in rural areas, to ensure that everyone had access to legal foreign currency.

“The second part is, we are still in discussion. Right now, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is talking to the mobile network operators, mentioning Econet in particular because they were suspended in 2020 after some issues that now have been ironed   out.

“We would want to have agents reactivated so that the most remote areas, our constituents, the citizenry can access both US dollars and ZiG from their wallets.

“Econet went a step further last week and zero-rated the charges for sending money from parts of the diaspora to Zimbabwe. This was a show of good faith and support for Government during this El Nino period as well as to show the commitment in bolstering our efforts in supporting and defending.”