Govt to criminalise multi-tier pricing, refusal of other payment forms

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File pic of the RBZ head quarters in Harare.

HARARE – The Zimbabwean Government is  taking measures to criminalise the use of a multi-tier pricing system by  service providers in the country, blamed for fuelling a hike in prices  of goods and services, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) said on  Wednesday.

Zimbabwe has since 2009 been using a basket of multi-currencies for  transactions after it dumped it’s hyper-inflation ravaged local  currency.

But cash shortages, fuelled by high imports, cash hoarding and  externalisation among other ills, have become the norm in the past few  years.

To beat the cash shortages, use of plastic as well as mobile money have  become the most used means to transact.

And some traders, desperate for foreign currency, which is used to  import goods, introduced a multi-tier pricing system that sees consumers  paying less for a commodity or service when using cash, slightly more  when using mobile money and much more when paying via bank transfers.

This has led to an outcry from consumers, as black market pricing of  foreign currency now determines pricing of goods and services.

Some businesses are also notorious for refusing other forms of payment,  accepting cash only.

And RBZ Governor, Dr John Mangudya said government would address the  ills through a law that is currently in Parliament that would make such  practises illegal.

“Multi-pricing and refusal to accept plastic money is  counter-productive to the successful and unparalleled efforts achieved  so far in the promotion and usage of plastic money in Zimbabwe,” the RBZ  governor said.

“Business will need to be reminded to show respect to consumers and to  exercise self-discipline under the new economic dispensation.”

Dr Mangudya said the new law will make the “mal-practise of  multi-pricing and refusal of plastic money illegal.”

And as a show of a move away from the usage of cash, latest figures  from the RBZ show that 96 percent of the one billion transactions  processed in the country in 2017 were through electronic and mobile  banking systems.

Dr Mangudya stressed that the cash situation would only improve when  the overall performance of the economy improves.

He again stressed that the multi-currency system as well as bond notes  would remain in use for the foreseeable future – New Ziana

 

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