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New Zimbabwe banking law to lower charges

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A NEW banking law is expected to benchmark service charges with regional standards amid concerns that financial institutions are profiteering through exorbitant charges, a senior government minister has said.

Report by Business Reporter

The law is still at its drafting stage and seeks to amend the Banking Act.

Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere on Wednesday told delegates attending a Dutch embassy-organised forum focusing on the role of government’s role in protecting and furthering Internet freedom that the new law would also seek to lower service charges for the fast-growing mobile money services.

Already the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe have signed a memorandum of understanding to lower charges.

“Government is looking at how to reduce the cost of carrying out business in the financial services sector as well as mobile banking services,” Kasukuwere said.

The proposed legislation, if passed into law, could have a knock-on effect on mobile phone operator Econet Zimbabwe, which took over TN Bank. Econet, through EcoCash, a mobile banking service with two million subscribers, has managed to significantly grow the bank’s revenue anchored by the platform.

Since the adoption of multiple currencies in 2009, several banks have formulated mobile banking services in a bid to improve financial inclusion as well as confidence in the banking sector.

Mobile banking and money transfer services that have been launched include: Kingdom Bank’s Cellcard, Tetrad’s eMali, Econet Wireless’ Ecocash; CABS Bank’s Textacash, Interfin Bank’s Cybercash and CBZ Bank’s mobile banking, among others.

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