Rumours of Econet closure due to mobile money ban are untrue, minister says

HARARE – The government of Zimbabwe has dismissed rumours that the country’s largest cellco by subscribers – Econet Wireless – will shut down its operations due to moves by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to limit mobile money transactions.

Econet had contested this week’s decision by the RBZ to ban cash-in, cash-out and cashback transactions via mobile money services, including its own Ecocash unit. The bank’s move was designed to halt what it said was illegal activity by agents who are charging commissions well above the legal limits.

In response to protests RBZ is now allowing cash transactions once again, but only up to a limit of ZWL100.

ZBC cites ICT minister Kazembe Kazembe as saying that he is confident that Econet has no plans to cease operations because of the restrictions. He said: ‘As government [officials], we haven’t heard of any such development.

If Econet threatens shutdown or want to shut, they have to let us as the parent ministry know. So … nothing has come from them and all we hear is speculation.’

Zimbabwe is in the grip of severe economic turmoil, with its inflation rate now thought to be the highest in the world.