Business Development Opinions

Strive Masiyiwa clarifies Ecocash Agents debacle

Strive Masiyiwa
Following the outcry over hiked percentages demanded by Ecocash Agents to those willing to access cash, Strive Masiyiwa, the Chairman of Econet absolved his company of the responsibility for the mess.
He headlined his response as Talks On EcoCash Agents Selling Cash, “Whose Cash Are Agents Selling?
Below is Mr. Masiyiwa’s response:
The issue of EcoCash agents selling cash has been topical lately. Some are issuing out ultimatums and even a cabinet minister is threatening the EcoCash CEO with arrest. Arrest for what is the question. The anti-corruption commission has called this corruption. Really?
Strive Masiyiwa has given his thoughts to this whole fiasco as he responded to one of his followers on Facebook. Here’s the full excerpt:
Liveit L Ndlovu writes, US$1:$12 bond cash,and US$1:$20 eco cash. Ecocash agents are charging 60%. I think it’s time to act on that issue Sir.
Strive Masiyiwa’s reply:
We cannot solve a problem, until we first understand it:
1, EcoCash is not a currency. It is simply a mechanism that money moves through. You don’t dig up a road, simply because a thief came on a road! EcoCash is just a road for money, it is not the money! EcoCash does not have any money. The Cash [bank notes] money belongs to the agent. Ecocash does not print money, either physical or electronic.
That is done by the RBZ. They decide how much bank notes are in circulation. If there are not enough, then they must supply them, until there is enough supply.
2. Why is there such a shortage of bank notes in the first place, that it becomes possible to sell bank notes?! Why?! Where in the world does that happen?! Give me a break my friend, you are smarter than that! Who created such an arbitrage situation?
3. Whose cash is the Agent selling, at that rate?!
4. How does Econet police 50,000 agents? Who can do it? No one, because that is not the problem. Ask the RBZ to address the supply of these bank notes, if you believe that is the problem. What if we stopped them all from dispensing any cash, would it solve the problem? Why do the banks not dispense cash like banks around the world? Why?
5. If the State withdrew its electronic money that moves through EcoCash, and replaced it with physical notes, would it solve the problem?
6. When an Agent sells his money at 50% premium, does he share the upside with EcoCash? Of course not! If you show me that anyone at EcoCash is involved and benefitting, that is another issue. But that is not what is happening! Let’s first understand the problem: This is simply symptomatic of hyper inflation. In case you have not realised Zimbabwe has the highest hyper inflation in the world right now! If you address the causes of hyper inflation, this problem disappears.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende