Low income puts damper on festive mood

Source: Low income puts damper on festive mood – Sunday News Dec 18, 2016

Dickson Mangena, Business Reporter
THE prevailing liquidity crunch and the general low disposable income are likely to dampen the festive mood of the majority of people in the country.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions western region chairperson Mr Reason Ngwenya said the spending extravagance associated with the festive season have been on a continuous decline over the years due to low disposable income by the employed.

“In the last five years workers have not got any salary increase and that has had an impact on the quality of the festive season they have been having. In the past there have been a 13th cheque and these days it’s uncertain if they will get it,” said Mr Ngwenya.

He said workers’ rights especially of getting living wages have been critically infringed upon and he further stated that people should use their cash sparingly.

“We urge workers to do festivities sparingly as it is now clear that they will no longer be as good as they used to in the past.

We urge them to be mindful that there is January coming where they would be met with school fees needs,” said Mr Ngwenya.

He said measures introduced by the Government to cushion people from having their earnings plundered by bank charges as well as the introduction of import restrictions on certain goods that can be produced locally were noble moves but came at a time when people had already felt the brunt of hardship.

“Why did it take so long for Government to cut bank charges? Because when it happened, it was a little too late as the damage had been done. Even the promotion of local products came too late as they are now too expensive compared to those from other countries,” said Mr Ngwenya.

Consumer Council of Zimbabwe Matabeleland regional manager Mr Comfort Muchekeza said the hype associated with the festive season has over the last decade fizzled out largely due to low spending power by consumers.

“For the past 10 years the festive season has been dampening because people generally do not have money to spend,” said Mr Muchekeza.

He, however, urged both service providers and the public to embrace the use of modern transactional methods such as plastic money to avert the biting cash crisis.

“The cash crisis is not as bad as it is portrayed. There are remedies around it, which include among others, Point of Sale (PoS) machines and mobile phone-based money transfers. The only issue now is for service providers to embrace these systems to ease the use of cash so that consumers will not be disadvantaged on their festivities. Consumers can still buy their festive needs without the need of having cash at hand. Although, a challenge may come in transport where operators aren’t using PoS machines for their transactions,” Mr Muchekeza said.

He said the Government through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe should further reduce transaction charges for the use of bank cards and mobile phone-based money transfers.

“The challenge that consumers are facing are the charges that are associated with the use of PoS machines and mobile money.

For the PoS transaction you realise that the charges differ especially if your bank card does not match the bank the retailer is using. As for mobile money, consumers are made to pay for cash out charges when service providers say they need to get their money in full,” said Mr Muchekeza.

According to the schedule, depositors are now charged 20 cents for withdrawing an amount of $20 and 25 cents if one is withdrawing the same amount over the counter; 50 cents for a $50 amount withdrawn through Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and 63 cents over the counter.

Depositors will now incur $1 for a $100 amount withdrawn via ATM and 25 cents more if they did this over the counter.

Before the new charges were introduced, depositors incurred between $1,50 and $2,50 in bank withdrawal charges. Some went up to $5,50 depending on the banking institution.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 1
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    Dunlop Munjanja 5 years ago

    Festive season?
    Us Zimbos have got to be the dumbest lot on the planet.