In abiding by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s directives, EcoCash has instituted a ZWL$5000.00 a day limit on transactions. The outline of how this will affect daily transactions is as follows:
“Transactions by all individuals shall be pegged at a maximum of ZWS5,000 (five thousand Zimbabwe dollars) per day with immediate effect. This threshold relates to all transactions by the individual. including;EcoCash
a. Payments to merchants for goods and services and payments for utility bills
b. Send Money and purchase of airtime and data
c. EcoCash Debit Card
d. Wallet to bank transfers”
Looking at the above they have not only included how much money you can spend on goods and services but the amount of money that you can transfer within your own accounts (wallet to bank).
So what exactly can you do with the ZWL$5000.00?
I think we can all agree that in the event of an emergency, for example, someone needing medical attention or an unexpected expense, ZWL$5000 will surely not be enough. Consultation fees with practitioners, if one isn’t on medical aid or if the practitioner doesn’t accept the form of medical aid presented, will leave many who transact on mobile money with some issues. This also doesn’t include the money that will be needed for medication and any other things needed in the space of that day.
Basic goods and services
So how much can one buy with ZWL$5000.00 in groceries?
The figures we are going by are from ZimPriceCheck August 2020 grocery prices. The prices they listed were from selected stores and there are some outlets that they didn’t have prices for. These prices will vary from outlet to outlet, but it’s just to give us a rough idea of what ZWL5000.00 can buy.
Basic grocery needs:
|Mealie-meal Refined 10kg||479.99|
|Cooking Oil 2L||249.99|
|Rice white/Long grain||258.99|
|Tissues (Pack of 4)||99.99|
|Washing Powder 1kg||331.89|
|Bath soap Jade 250g||59.99|
|Petroleum Jelly 300ml||141.29|
|Sanitary Pads 10s/8s||89.20|
|Tea 100 tea bags||146.99|
|Peanut butter 375ml||136.99|
|Matches pack of 10 boxes||44.99|
|Dish Washer 750ml||121.69|
|Soup Usavi Mix 50g||46.99|
|Tinned beans 410g||77.99|
|Toilet Cleaner 500ml||173.79|
|Scouring powder 500g||26.79|
Just a little over the ZWL$5000 EcoCash limit.
There were no prices for perishables (Meat, Fruit and Vegetables).
Using Techzim’s ZESA Calculator ZWL$5000.00 will get you 1220.29kWh of electricity. A bit beyond what the average household will need, but there are those who may operate in light to medium industry, this may be a ballpark figure of the electricity they use.
The cost of fuel
If you are one of those fortunate enough to find a filling station that is selling fuel in RTGS, according to ZERA’s most recent price listing, the cost of petrol is ZWL$93.15 per litre and Diesel is $83.36 per litre. So for ZWL$5000.00 will get you 53.68 Litres of petrol and 59.98L of diesel.
Well, again that’s if you are lucky to come across a service station that is selling fuel in local currency.
Mobile data and home internet
For most mobile data (as well as airtime) packages, when the limit is looked at in isolation to them, aren’t really affected. The problem comes with some ZOL nad TelOne packages that exceed ZWL$5000.00, those look like they may have to be paid in part until the balance for the package is reached. This means that payments for these packages may have to be planned out well in advance. They will also have to planned around other payments.
This EcoCash ZWL$5000.00 limit restricts financial freedom on mobile money. The value of the ZWL$5000 in goods and services goes beyond the things listed above. Other things not covered are things like rent, school fees, medical insurance, vehicle registration, transport costs and many others.
The limit will change how people use mobile money. The alternative when faced with a large transaction or set of transactions will be to pay them off in parts. Another situation that could arise is being near or at the limit and then facing an expense like electricity. That means if there is no other alternative to mobile money then that payment will have to be made the next day.
This restriction could also see more people adopt (on top of conventional banking platforms) the use of cash, USD to specific. Some people could adopt the use of USD to avoid the limit as well as to sidestep the 2% Tax (which applies to bank card as well). This, however, is for those who have the USD, to begin with, and that doesn’t cover everyone.
It’s also worth mentioning that this limit also affects Telecash and OneMoney.