ZIMBABWE’S cash crisis that has been experienced mostly within mainstream banking institutions persisted on Saturday with some Mobile Money Transfer agencies in Harare’s CBD also catching the fever.
A snap survey by NewZimbabwe.com in the city centre discovered that some mobile transfer points were turning clients away as they had no cash.
Zimbabwe has four mobile transfer agencies namely Econet’s Ecocash, Telecel’s Telecash, Netone’s One Wallet and Netcash whose agents rely on conventional banking institutions to manage their floats.
However, the facility, it has emerged, also suffered the knock-on effects with some of the agents failing to dispense the usually small numbers of cash to clients.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com, some cashiers manning some Mobile Money Transfer points attributed the problem she was also experiencing to failing to get money from her respective banks.
“I have exhausted all my float cash and since Friday I have not done any cash-out transactions,” said Mavis Takavarasha.
“I failed to get any money from the bank today (Saturday) to give to customers who want to cash out.”
Mavis added that not even a single person came to cash-in in the last two days, leading to her running out of cash to run her business.
Helen Moyo who operates along Chinhoyi Street said some customers were became angry when she told them she had no cash to dispense through cash-out transactions.
“Ndange ndakurohwa pano (I nearly got beaten here).
“The whole of last week I only managed to get $200 from the bank which ran out after some few minutes
The situation was the same in some supermarkets which also started limiting customers seeking to do cash withdrawals.
Customers were only getting as little as $10 with cashiers saying it was a directive from their supervisors.
So dire is the crisis such that CABS’ First Street branch was only allowing withdrawals of up to $100 only.
Banks were first to experience cash shortages in the past few weeks and have since been imposing cash withdrawal limits on depositors while automated teller machines have also dried out.
The cash crisis, which monetary authorities attribute to a number of factors among them a high import national bill, has caused panic among depositors who fear a slide to the 2008 era during which savings were lost as a result of hyper inflation.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya did not help matters either when he last week announced the country was considering printing bond notes to try and augment the depleting US dollar which has been circulating on the local market.
Under then governor Gideon Gono, most depositors, among them private institutions, lost their savings and pensions when the country’s hyper inflation reached 230 million percent.
In the midst of the chaos, some enterprising locals turned into overnight millionaires when they used the worthless Zimbabwean dollar notes which were often in their billions and trillions, to buy hard currency.
Mangudya has allayed fears the country was headed for the dreaded period.