Econet has urged users of its mobile money platform, EcoCash to keep calm and ignore a statement from the government on Friday that said the money transfer service was banned.

In a statement, Econet told its clients to “remain calm and to continue to do your lawful transactions as usual”.

Econet said it was regulated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the statement from Nick Mangwana, the Information ministry permanent secretary, was not binding on them.

“EcoCash is regulated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and would naturally expect a directive of that nature and significance to be communicated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,” the company said. 

Econet, which says it has more than 10 million subscribers on its EcoCash platform, said, should there be changes “we shall give you adequate notice as required by the law”.

The government announced that it was suspending mobile money platforms and trade on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, measures it hopes will contain the rapid collapse of the local currency and stem rising inflation, which is close to 800%.

This is the latest episode in a long running battle between the government and Econet. 

Only recently, the authorities announced that they were banning a number of EcoCash agents, they have announced the ban of cashing in and cashing out and have tried to limit the amount that agents can send per day, but this has not helped change the country’s economic fortunes.

Mangwana on Saturday morning tweeted excerpts of Statutory Instrument 80 of 2020 in an effort to justify his statement a day earlier.

The SI was issued at the end of March this year and some questioned the relevance of resorting to it now.

The Zimbabwe Coalition of Debt and Development described the ban of mobile money platforms as “shock news” and also questioned the legality of the move by the government.

The organisation pleaded with the authorities to reverse the move.

The government has been accused of trying to deal with symptoms rather than fixing the problems affecting the economy such as corruption, policy inconsistencies and the government’s huge appetite for spending.

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