Plastic money spurs Christmas spending

Source: Plastic money spurs Christmas spending – Sunday News Jan 15, 2017

Dickson Mangena, Business Reporter
MORE than 80 percent of retail transactions during the festive season were conducted through plastic money with more than 4 000 Point of Sale Machines added in December alone.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president Mr Denford Mutashu said a majority of sales during the festive season were through plastic money as the number of Point Of Sale machines increased from 25 000 in November to 29 000 during the festive season.

The number of POS machines has grown from just 400 when the country officially adopted dollarisation in 2009 to 29 000 by December last year. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had proposed a target of 30 000 POS machines by the end of 2016.

“We are happy with the hive of activity in the festive season as it was better than the previous one. One of the notable differences was that 80 percent of the sales were attributable to plastic and mobile money. We also saw the tremendous rise of POS machines in the country’s retail from around 25 000 in November to around 29 000 during the festive season,” said Mr Mutashu.

Mr Mutashu, however, appealed to the RBZ and players in the financial sector to increase the supply of POS machines and other financial inclusion mechanisms to the rural areas and other remote areas.

“We, however, have a concern in that the number of retailers that do not have POS machines is still very high. We have retailers in the rural areas that still don’t have POS machines and yet the bulk of our customers, about 60 percent, are in the rural areas.

“We therefore urge the RBZ and players in the financial sector to look into the issue to ensure financial inclusion for all,” Mr Mutashu said.

Mr Mutashu also said that the general acceptance of the bond notes that were introduced in November last year contributed to increased expenditure during the festive season.

“As liquidity was a major threat to the buying power of our customers, the acceptance and embrace of the bond notes came as a boost. It was also a bond Christmas,” said Mr Mutashu.

He said last year was different as the bulk of the products that were in stock were locally manufactured as retailers improved relations with local manufacturers.

“More goods last year were locally manufactured, general stocks constituted about 70 percent of local manufactured goods. As the retail sector we have embraced Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 and we now have an improved relationship with local manufacturers,” Mr Mutashu said.

Local companies have been increasing production on the back of restriction on imported goods.

The Government is aiming at boosting local production at the same time encouraging the consumption of local goods to create employment and improve the economy in general.