THE use of the United States dollar has declined in some urban retail stores on the back of increased usage of plastic money and the penetration of bond notes.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
This comes as there has been an increase in point-of-sale (POS) machines to an estimated 29 000 to date from 25 000 in November 2016, according to Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR).
This also comes as banks are issuing $100 bond note withdrawals per day compared to $50.
A snap survey conducted by NewsDay during the festive season showed that when consumers used cash to purchase goods, usage of the US dollar was lower than bond notes in most urban retail outlets.
The latest Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) economic weekly report, for the week ending December 9, says the value of POS transactions grew by 22% to $142,69 million from the previous week’s $116,88 million.
TM Pick N Pay managing director, Malcolm Mycroft said they were not facing any US dollar currency shortages from their stores.
“Whatever currency we have in our tills, we give as change to our customers, no preference to dollars versus bond notes, so we are not experiencing any problems nor have our customers,” he said.
Spar Zimbabwe managing director, Terrence Yeatman said, at present, their bond notes takings were about 1,5% of sales.
“Yes, Spar does give bond notes as change when appropriate, especially for small lots change. If a Spar customer gives us $100 and the change is $80, we will give back what we can in United States dollars, and the balance in bond notes. The bond notes have certainly assisted in addressing the liquidity issues our Spar customers are facing,” he said.
OK Zimbabwe marketing director, Tendai Makomva said: “I have spoken to some of my colleagues, who have daily interface with all our branches and, on our side, it’s business as usual, with the same combination of United States dollars and bond notes”.
Food World marketing and sales director, Tendai Chisvo was out of the country and could not be reached for comment.
In a statement yesterday, RBZ said the use of plastic money and electronic banking now accounts for 50% to 70% of the sales for most of the bigger retail outlets in Zimbabwe, including fuel dealers.
“This paradigm shift is encouraging, as it has a positive effect, together with the efficient circulation of bond notes, of reducing the demand for cash within the national economy. This will also have a positive effect of discouraging queuing for cash at banks, as queues at banks do not necessarily reflect lack of money in the economy, but reflect the need to continuously promote the use of plastic money and electronic payment methods,” Mangudya said.
CZR president, Denford Mutashu told NewsDay yesterday that the decline in United States dollar usage was only in concentrated areas and added when he visited
retailers in Dotito, Masvingo and Mutare, customers were still getting change in United States dollars. Mutashu said the use of plastic money had increased.
“If you look at the past festive season, a lot of the sales were attributed to the use of plastic money. It is actually a situation that we have noticed, which is why we have approached the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to increase POS machines.”
NewsDay was unable to contact the president of the Retailers Association of Zimbabwe, Themba Ndebele.