Cross border traders have lamented the sharp increase in the percentage required on the black market for them to take out their money from the Ecocash financial application.
The black market exchange rate for cashing out money from Ecocash accounts has steadily risen up to 30% leading to the erosion of the profit margins, further straining the informal industry which has had to resort to the use of plastic and electronic money in recent months.
Currently if one wants to take out his money from Ecocash he has to cede 30% of the amount to the agent doing the transaction, a far cry from the nominal charges that the financial facility used to charge for such transactions.
This translates into one paying $30 and taking the remaining $70 if there is $100 in the Ecocash account.
A cross border trader who spoke with the publication lamented the state of things and called for a speedy resolution to the problem.
“I could say its daylight robbery since the guy giving me the money has done next to nothing but then that’s how we are managing to source the cash, things have simply gone haywire. Very soon we may be paying 50% if things don’t change”, he said.
Most of the people who are providing cash on the black market are no longer the usual Ecocash agents. Many of them lost business a long time ago when the cash crunch began biting.
The agents prowling the streets today with tiny bags filled with cash are ordinary people with connections with people in banks and shops. Some of them don’t have proper facilities from which to do business so they just mill around certain areas of the street just like airtime vendors.
Word of mouth sells their business of selling money
How they get the scarce cash is a matter of connections and conniving with those in positions of power. It’s a fluid lane of corruption so usual that its now acceptable and expected.
” I started being provided the money by a pal of mine who works in OK shop. After doing business I also gave him a cut but the demand is increasing so we are doing brisk business I have actually found other people who can provide me with cash every evening”, he says.
Despite government cash alleviation efforts the economic swing has simply refused to be swayed back into normalcy and the Reserve Bank Governor John Mangudya recently announced the imminent introduction of a further $300million of the ridiculed bond notes.
The bond notes, just as the earlier batch, are coming under an Afreximbank facility.
How they will fare is no longer a matter of conjecture. The people will accept and use them but the financial dynamics will spit back at the economic hatchet job by the government. The end result as the World Bank has previously stated will be a deepening of the financial malaise until production increases.