LOCAL retailers have backed a central bank move to limit the cash back facility to a maximum $20 per customer in attempts to ease worsening cash shortages in the country.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) directive Thursday also compelled shops and wholesalers to deposit the surplus with local banks to allow cash to circulate within formal banking systems.
Shop owners are reportedly keen on keeping cash generated through daily sales in order to buy foreign currency to replenish stocks while some have been linked to the illegal sale of hard cash to desperate citizens.
RBZ governor John Mangudya said the move was meant to curb tax evasion, money laundering and to promote the use of plastic money among transacting citizens.
The RBZ measures were supported by Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president Denford Mutashu who said this would go a long way in solving the crippling cash crisis.
“Certain retailers were no longer depositing their money taking advantage of cash backs and lying to the central bank that money has been withdrawn by customers,” Mutashu told NewZimbabwe.com Saturday.
Mutashu said during their own interactions with the RBZ governor, it emerged that a named retailer which used to bank up to $40 million per given trading period when the cash situation was still stable, was now banking $10 million while claiming the remainder was being returned to customers through cash back.
Closer checks with the retailer however proved the claims were false.
“So, the move will go a long way and will see the liquidity situation improves,” Mutashu said.
“Remember the retail sector is a conduit through which more transactions take place between the customers and the general business community.
“So, there is a lot of cash movement at the retail store.”
Mutashu said his organisation was confident the RBZ decree will improve the situation in a country where citizens now spend long period camped outside banking halls for scarce cash.
“If you look at how much the retail sector contributes to the GDP which is more than 60%, it shows you how big the monster is.
“So, there is a lot of cash within the retail sector circulating and if it is actually channelled through the proper financial systems, it will actually improve the liquidity situation,” said Mutashu, who insisted the current cash crisis was artificial.Advertisement
The decision comes days after RBZ has issues another statement telling consumers not to panic about the current cash shortages.