By Trevor Makonyonga
President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday directed Money Transfer Agencies (MTAs) to reopen.
This move is expected to curb cash challlenges in the country.
as he noted that they are important for the country at the moment.
In a statement Mnangwagwa said most citizens now depended on money from their relatives abroad.
With the ongoing lockdown, a majority of citizens who rely on the informal sector are struggling to earn a living.
“In view of the ongoing COVID 19 lockdown, and following concerns of users of Money Transfer services, I have now directed the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to immediately address constraints around this essential financial service.
“The new environment arising from the National Lockdown has increased our people’s dependence on remittances, which also have the added advantage of reaching directly to the most marginalised of our nation. Because of the necessary National Lockdown, livelihoods in the informal sector have been disrupted, thus forcing many households to depend on the support of their loved ones abroad. It is thus critical for our financial service institutions to adapt their operations to the new emergency situation.
“Let me, in the same spirit, pay tribute to our citizens abroad who continue to show abundant compassion by assisting their families back home through various interventions which include financial remittances.”
The central bank governor, John Mangudya in response ordered MTAs Money to reopen on Wednesday.
In statement Mangudya said, “MTAs with branches operating from retail outlets, will with effect from Wednesday the 8th of April 2020, operate daily within the timelines prescribed for opening of retail outlets or shops and MTAs owned by banks and those with banking halls and branches outside banks and retail outlets or shops shall open three times a week, that is on Tuesday to Thursday, between 0900-1500. To allow operational adjustment, this directive takes effect from Wednesday the 8th of April 2020.”
The statement also gave instructions as to how the agencies will be expected to operate in line with the guidelines of the COVID19 pandemic.
“The decision in respect of the extension of the above services is to allow for the receipt of foreign currency remittances which cannot be transacted on any digital or electronic platforms. In order to mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID 19, MTAs shall be required to spread remittance payout point and strictly observe the social distancing guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the World Health Organisation from time to time.”