Heavy-handed Govt regulation is emptying our wallet, EcoCash says

EcoCash Zimbabwe

By Tawanda Karombo

Zimbabwe’s heavy-handed regulation of mobile money platforms has impacted growth of these platforms and also contributed to the Zimdollar’s continued loss in value, according to the country’s biggest mobile wallet operator, EcoCash.

According to EcoCash, it is being “severely constrained due to regulated transaction limits, regulated tariffs, and the continued suspension” of some of its revenue-generating services – including cash-in and cash-out services.

The restrictions came after the government accused EcoCash of running a Ponzi scheme to create money within the economy to purchase foreign currency on the streets of Harare and “inflame the exchange rate”. EcoCash denied the charges.

Last month, EcoCash launched a partnership with PayPal to enable the receipt of remittances via mobile wallets in Zimbabwe.

The government has given the company permission to facilitate local US Dollar transfers while it provides associated remittance services

Sherree Shereni, Chairman of EcoCash Holdings said: “We have launched several exciting products and solutions that include the automation of merchant settlements and self-care portal for EcoCash reset pin-reset.”

The Fintech business unit for EcoCash constitutes about 80% of the total group revenue, with the EcoCash mobile money platform accounting for about 72% of the revenue from the segment.

The company has undertaken an analysis of EcoCash “to continue as going concerns” and has determined that “macro-economic uncertainties characterised by hyperinflation, rapid changes in policies and challenges in accessing foreign currency as well as global and local uncertainties created by the rollover impact of COVID-19 have resulted in a challenging” operating environment.

As a result of this, EcoCash said it will “adopt mitigatory measures, within the bounds of the country’s laws, to minimise the adverse impacts of the challenging operating environment” but offered no further detail.

EcoCash has been unbundled from EcoCash and is now listed separately on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

The company now encompasses banking unit, Steward Bank and other units in life-assurance, insurance, on-demand services and a telehealth unit, among others.

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