In a bid to facilitate smooth transactions in the banking sector, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has put a $10 000 limit on instant cash withdrawals.
Customers intending to withdrawal more than $10 000 will have to put a notice of withdrawal.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono in his Monetary Policy Statement on Tuesday said the move was also aimed at curbing externalisation of cash.
Cash withdrawal notice periods for high-value cash withdrawals have been set at $10 001–$20 000 (one day) $20 001–
$30 000 (two days) $30 001–
$40 000 (three days) $40 001–
$50 000 (four days) $50 001 and above (five days).
“The money market is currently inundated with challenges resulting from the worsening liquidity, delayed cash payments and illegal externalisation of cash,” said Gono.
“In order to facilitate countrywide smooth payment transactions as well as curbing illegal externalisation of cash, all financial institutions are being called upon to moderate instant cash withdrawals to a maximum of $10 000.”
The central bank governor urged the transacting public to make use of alternative payments to ease pressure on banks.
“To complement these measures, the banking public is strongly encouraged to use the real-time gross settlement system (RTGS), credit cards and other approved electronic money transfer systems in settling their day-to-day financial transactions,” Gono said.
Total RTGS system values amounted to $33 billion in 2011 from 2 million transactions indicating a 51% increase from $21 billion recorded in the year 2010.
He said the cheque payment stream remained available to a selected group of customers on a “know-your-customer” basis consistent with the risk profile of the payment stream.
A total of 259 000 transactions valued at $65 million were cleared last year compared to 174 000 transactions valued at $42 million in 2010.
Transactions processed through ATMs amounted to $905 million during the year under review from $312 million in 2010.
ATM transactions constituted 56% of the total retail transactions in terms of value, indicating a high propensity to cash usage by the transacting public.
“We therefore encourage the market to move towards the use of other electronic means of payment which are now available in the country to reduce the risk of moving around with cash,” said Gono.
The financial sector has in recent months faced liquidity challenges that exerted pressure on financial institutions and the RTGS system.