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Electronic transactions hit $13 trillion in 3 months

The last time transactions were valued in trillions was during the 2007/08 hyperinflationary era.

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says the value of electronic transactions processed through the national payment systems in the quarter ended December 31, 2022, rose by 28% to $13,37 trillion.

This was from $10,43 trillion in the prior quarter.

According to the central bank's national payments report for the period, volumes dropped by 17% to 238,34 million.

The total from April to December was $29,7 trillion.

The data shows that the real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system accounted for the majority of transactions throughout the period followed by internet payments.

For instance, compared to the prior quarter, the value of transactions processed through the RTGS system increased by 37% to $9,41 trillion while the volume declined by 8% to 2,98 million.

Zimbabwe’s national payments values bounced back to trillions of dollars in the past year, highlighting how hyperinflation has depreciated the domestic currency.

The last time transactions were valued in trillions was during the 2007/08 hyperinflationary era.

“The increase in value of transactions may be explained by three possible factors. Firstly, it could be that more people have come to embrace the use of electronic money platforms,” said Stevenson Dhlamini, an applied economics lecturer at the National University of Science and Technology.

 This, he said, might be also as a result of the apex bank's trick of restricting the money supply.

“Secondly, it could be a reflection of an increase in inflationary pressures, hence the term "increased value" and not "volume".

“Thirdly, it may be a reflection of the increase in the cost of forex transactions compared to the local currency as the local currency is pegged at the interbank rate. This means most people find the use of electronic money comparably cheaper than the use of foreign currency,” he said.

The annual inflation rate for Zimbabwe in January 2023 was 229,8% as opposed to 243,8% in December 2022.

In the period under review, total retail transactions value climbed by 11,46% to $3,96 trillion (US$5,9 billion), but total retail volumes declined by 17,29% to 235,36 million.

Local collateral for central securities depository settlement systems and retail payments (ZimSwitch) increased in value to $19,38 billion. This, the paper indicated, was primarily brought on by a 47% increase in Chengetedzai Deposit Corporation collateral.

The report indicates that for the quarter under review, the foreign currency collateral held by Victoria Falls Stock Exchange Limited was US$59 781,40.

“It remained stable and adequately covered the risk levels associated with the platform’s transactional activities,” it said.

The point-of-sale population dropped from 135 346 during the reviewed quarter to 135 198. In the period under review, there were 7,84 million active mobile financial services subscribers registered, up from 7,76 million seen in the preceding quarter. The figure comprises both mobile money users and banked subscribers.

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