During the recently held Parliamentary Portfolio Committee meeting, Bankers Association of Zimbabwe raised concerns regarding mobile money services and the unfair advantage they have over financial institutions.
Dephine Mazambani, BAZs Chief Economist said the advantage stems from EcoCash and other mobile money services being regulated by POTRAZ and not the RBZ, which simply isn’t true:
Money transfer agencies and banks are not regulated the same way. We are regulated by the RBZ while they are regulated by POTRAZ.
Our regulation is different but one of the key challenges is that while we are regulated differently, sometimes you see that we offer similar products which creates an uneven playing field and sometimes pose a risk to the financial sector, seismic risks.
It is the regulatory environment we are hoping can be levelled.Dephine Mazambani – BAZ Cheif Economist
This is a pretty stunning statement coming from the representatives of banks because one would expect that they would have knowledge of the fact that mobile money is in fact regulated by the RBZ and not by POTRAZ as they believe.
Whilst BAZ claims there is an unfair advantage, it’s no surprise they didn’t cite any specific cases where mobile money services have actually benefited from being “regulated by POTRAZ” as they claim. There are no specific examples of this advantage simply because it doesn’t exist.
During the same meeting, Cassava Smartech’s CEO corrected Ms Mazambani stating that EcoCash (and mobile money service providers) were in fact regulated by the RBZ:
EcoCash is under the direct oversight of the RBZ. We are regulated under the National Payments System Act and we make as frequent returns and engagement with the central bank as any other financial services sector in Zimbabwe, including banks.
For certain services we are also regulated by the RBZ Finacial Intelligence Unit where we submit all our suspicious transactions reports and other general issues which pick.Eddie Chibi – Cassava Smartech
Whilst you would expect that a regular person who doesn’t understand the financial system could be confused by the regulation of mobile money but to hear that from the BAZ is quite startling, especially when you consider the BAZ is supposed to be a reflection of the banks.