Mobile Money Debate: Plug regulatory gaps, monetary authorities told

BY ZBC Reporter

Regulatory deficiencies identified in mobile money transactions have triggered a debate as to whether enough is being done to curb economic malpractices that have destabilised the economy.

Zimbabwe embraced mobile money transactions in just less than a decade ago but new technologies have seen the rapid transformation of the phone-based payment systems with little or no investment in the necessary regulatory framework.

These regulatory gaps have seen the entire financial system being exposed to economic manipulation to the detriment of the well-being of ordinary citizens.

With revelations that one mobile money product channel was housing at least 8 billion Zimbabwean dollars, the National Business Council of Zimbabwe President, Dr. Keith Guzah implored the Central Bank to harness regulatory scrutiny over these platforms.

“It is incumbent upon the Central Bank to wake up to the task by plugging all the holes which have led to the abuse of mobile money platforms. They must expand their regulatory capacity to mitigate abuse by unscrupulous economic agents.”

With pioneers of mobile money on the continent such as Kenya and Ghana, having come up with an inclusive and integrated regulatory framework, Zimbabwe’s current position unmasks the urgent need to aggressively fix the regulatory deficiencies.

“As mobile money technology has advanced over years, our monetary authorities should invest in capacity building to deal with an evolving mobile money ecosystem,” said Collen Jonasi, an economic analyst.

In most countries, mobile money transactions are predominantly bank-led and this puts authorities at a vantage position to adequately regulate the entire financial system by detecting and resolving any economic risks encountered.