I know that many people love that government services can be paid for using ZW$ because that means they can convert their USD at a good rate (i.e. the street rate which is always higher than the official one) and then make the payment.
However, there are times when accessing that market is not possible or inconvenient. What’s one to do when they have USD but need to purchase ZESA tokens?
ZESA announced that they now accept USD. You can walk into a ZESA branch with your USD and hand it over to the cashier and you’ll be given a token. You can also use InnBucks and EcoCash USD to pay.
However, It’s not that simple. They don’t really bill you in USD, they just convert your USD to ZW$ at the prevailing interbank rate at the time of purchase. So, if you walk into a ZESA branch with USD cash, that’s what would happen.
It’s the same when you use InnBucks or EcoCash, you’re not really using USD. They convert your USD to ZW$ at the interbank rate too and then process your transaction.
We reached out to ZESA and they told us,
We only charge RTGS for Domestic Customers but if you go and buy ZESA using USD we convert it to RTGS using the prevailing interbank rate on the day
When we asked about the InnBucks and EcoCash USD channels, they said,
They still convert to RTGS
This means there really isn’t a USD tariff schedule for domestic customers.
So, if you want to know how many units you will get for your USD, simply calculate how much your USD is worth in ZW$ using the interbank rate. Then simply input that ZW$ amount in the calculator below:
We will be updating the calculator so that you can just input the USD amount and get the answer.
If you want to know the data behind this, here are the tariffs as released on 31 July 2023.
- FARMING – ZW$329.48/kWh
- COMMERCIAL – ZW$767/kWh
ZESA said domestic users are not charged USD meaning some corporates/organisations are. We asked for those tariffs and got the following reply:
Kindly note that currently we do not have an official tariff schedule, however we can assist you to calculate an approximate figure, if you provide the number of units that you intend to purchase..
I know. What a ridiculous reply from the ZETDC National Contact Centre. We will update you when/if they locate it. What are they using to approximate? We would like to see that but we will have to wait, for now.