Swipe machines for schools

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THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education have sourced 3 500 Point of Sale (POS) machines for schools to enable parents to easily pay school fees in face of the current cash shortages.

RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya said by the end of the year, all schools will have access to POS machines. He said: “We have roped in banks so that they assist their customers with the POS machines. All the 9 000 schools will have the machines by the end of the year.

“By the time schools open on Tuesday, a considerable number of schools will be in possession of the machines to help with payment of fees.” Primary and Secondary Education Secretary Dr Slyvia Utete-Masango said she would give a comprehensive report on the procurement of POS machines once data from across the provinces has been collated.

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Dr Takavafira Zhou applauded Government for the move to ease school fees payments. “Few schools have these machines and when the schools open, the situation is usually chaotic. However, the process must be fast-tracked as schools open,” he said.

“Another factor to consider is that about 65 percent of schools are not electrified, hence there is need for electrification of the institutions.” In previous school terms, parents experienced difficulties in paying school fees because some schools do not have access to electricity or solar power needed to charge the POS machines.

Following cash problems, the RBZ encouraged the use of plastic money, a development which has seen the introduction of POS machines in most retail outlets.

In his Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement in July, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said 9 000 “swipe” machines would be introduced in schools before year end.

The promotion of plastic money saw the country using 32 629 POS machines and 40 590 mobile money agents. The National Financial Inclusion Policy says 200 000 POS machines and 90 000 mobile money agents will be established by 2020.