Nyemudzai Kakore, Harare Bureau
Retailers and other businesspeople charging extra for payments made in bond notes or bank cards and less for US dollar transactions will be prosecuted when the Reserve Bank Amendment Bill, which sailed through the National Assembly on Wednesday becomes law.
Responding to questions from Members of Parliament on Wednesday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa reiterated that bond notes were interchangeable at a rate of 1:1 with the US dollar.
He said those apprehended for charging more for goods paid for using bond notes will be prosecuted
The Bill now awaits transition to the Senate.
“The Reserve Bank Amendment Bill, which is before this House, is addressing those concerns, said Minister Chinamasa. “It is coming up with a law to penalise and criminalise that kind of conduct.”
Minister Chinamasa was responding to an oral question without notice from Glen View North legislator Fani Munengami (MDC-T) on the “three tier” pricing system, whereby some shops were selling the same goods at different prices, depending on the method of payment.
Mr Munengami claimed that a product can cost $90 when using cash, $100 when swiping and if one buying using bond notes, $120.
Government, Minister Chinamasa said, was making concerted efforts to ensure that point of sale machines were readily available.
“As of now, we do not have sufficient point of sale machines to distribute countrywide”, he said. These machines have to be imported.
“Resources are being mobilised on a daily basis to ensure that we import more point of sale machines, which eventually should be able to reach every shop where there is connectivity.”
Minister Chinamasa said it was daylight robbery for banks to charge more in transaction fees than the price for a loaf of bread and said he would hold discussions with Reserve Bank Governor Dr John Mangudya so that the anomaly is rectified.
He then called for tangible evidence to enable Dr Mangudya to enforce punitive measures against any banks charging exhorbitant fees.
Minister Chinamasa said this after Buhera South MP Cde Joseph Chinotimba (Zanu-PF) had expressed concern over high bank charges customers were paying when buying goods using plastic money.
He said hiccups in network or interconnectivity where customers have to wait for more than 10 minutes before a transaction is concluded, had been referred to the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services.
Article Source: The Chronicle