EDITORIAL COMMENT: Businesses flouting pricing system should be punished

plastic cash

The country continues to experience cash shortages and the situation worsens at the end of the month when both the public and private sector employees are paid.

It is because of this realisation that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is encouraging the transacting public to use other payment systems such as transfers through RTGS, swiping using Point of Sale machines as well as mobile money transfers. These payment options are, however, being frustrated by retailers that are using multi-tier pricing systems for the different payment systems.

What this means is that a single product will have three different prices based on the system of payment. Those paying cash for example will pay less than the other customers swiping or transferring money through RTGS or mobile money transfer. Some retailers are even charging different prices for those paying using bond notes and those paying in United States dollars.

All these acts, according to the RBZ, are illegal because those doing so are violating the Bank Use Promotion Act. The businesses engaging in these illegal acts therefore risk being prosecuted.

The obtaining situation on the ground is that despite repeated warnings from the RBZ, retailers including service stations, continue to use the three-tier pricing system which has resulted in high demand for cash.

The transacting public is now aware that for one to pay the lowest price for goods and services, he or she must pay cash as opposed to other systems of payment.

It is precisely because of this illegal pricing system that we continue to witness long and winding queues of people intending to withdraw cash at the banks.

The RBZ has acknowledged that the three-tier pricing has become rampant among businesses and there is therefore an urgent need to stop it.

The transacting public is being fleeced by businesses for having no cash. It is time authorities go beyond threats and punish businesses that continue to flout the country’s laws with impunity.

The transacting public can only embrace the use of plastic money if businesses have just one price regardless of the system of payment.

We want to implore the RBZ to demonstrate that it has teeth by punishing the businesses that are using the three-tier pricing system. What these businesses are doing is in fact sabotaging the economy and as such they deserve to be punished.

Article Source: The Chronicle