By Daniel Chigundu
FINANCE Minister Patrick Chinamasa has called on Zimbabweans to consider changing their love for cash and embrace the use of plastic money.
Zimbabwe is facing serious cash shortages that have seen people spending hours and in some cases days in bank queues trying to withdraw their money.
So dire is the situation that banks are mostly dispatching Bond Coins as Bond Notes have now become scarce due to non-banking tendencies which are being employed by some people in the country.
Speaking in Parliament recently, Minister Chinamasa said the cash that is currently in circulation is in line with world best practice and that people need to use more of the plastic money.
“I encourage Members of Parliament to use plastic money. Plastic money is not a challenge. Please understand me Vice President. There is no country that has a policy which states that all the money in the bank should be in physical cash.
“In our country, the deposits in the banks amount to US$7.2billion. So, it is impossible for us to give US$7.2billion in physical cash of US dollars. For us to get US dollars, we get it through exports and when we get that money, we then use that money to buy more cash from the Federal Reserve Bank in America. The money that we are supposed to buy fuel, we are now buying money for you to use.
“What I am saying is that each country says about 10 percent to 15 percent of bank deposit should be in physical cash, is that not the case? Now, when we look at it, we realise that what is in circulation is in line with about 11 percent but because of people who do not listen, they are the ones who are taking money, hoarding it and it is no longer in circulation.
“The money has to circulate from Honourable Vice President going on to Honourable Chamisa then come back to Honourable Mpariwa. Right now money is not circulating because there are people who are hoarding that cash,” he said.
Minister Chinamasa added that government has since taken some companies to court for not banking their money since 2009, yet they have been receiving millions in cash.
He said government and his ministry are currently looking into those issues but people need to change their mindset and embrace plastic money.
“Those are issues that we are looking into. The main challenge is that you need to change your dirty mindset. Remove this mindset that you need to buy everything in cash,” he said.
Although government is encouraging the use of plastic money in the country, there are still many shops which are yet to acquire the Point of Sale (POS) machines which are currently priced on the high side.
Small business players have however called on government to subsidise the POS machine to enable SMEs to afford them.-ENDS