‘Plastic money can help to thwart corruption’

ALTHOUGH the government through the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is urging people to use plastic money, it has emerged that most government departments and parastatals do not offer such facilities for clients to electronically transfer money.

By Wongai Zhangazha

Other than the Zimbabwe Revenue of Authority, which has point-of-sale machines at the borders and its revenue halls, other government departments and parastatals which collect large sums of money daily do not have such facilities.

These include the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Registrar-General’s Office, TelOne, municipalities, courts and government hospitals.

Some institutions such as hospitals accept payment through the mobile money transfer system, although it does not help many people as they have to first access money from their banks before depositing it in their wallets for transactions.

RBZ governor John Mangudya in March said cash usage in the country accounted for 80% of transactions, while plastic money accounted for 20%.

Addressing stakeholders at an International Monetary Fund’s roundtable discussion on the country’s economic reforms, Mandudya said he was targeting to increase the use of plastic money from 20% of transactions in the market to 80% in the next five years.

Namibia-based Zimbabwean journalist Wonder Guchu said other than being convenient, the use of plastic money in government departments would minimise corruption.

Guchu said: “With corruption rife in government departments, using plastic money will thwart corrupt activities. Cash sales creates room for corruption. It could be very possible that most public offices do not have point-of-sale machines as a deliberate move to milk cash for whatever payment.”

Early this month Mangudya said all government departments, public entities and municipalities that provide services on cash basis to the people are required to promote the use of plastic money by installing the point-of-sale machines in their banking halls.