Authorities in Zimbabwe have shut down trading on its Stock Exchange as well as all mobile money operations after the country alleged there are malpractices, criminality and economic sabotage carried out on the platforms.
The government said in a definitive statement through its secretary for Information, publicity and broadcasting services, Nick Mangwana that:
“Government has, with immediate effect, undertaken a series of prudent and coordinated interventions to deal with malpractices, criminality and economic sabotage perpetuated by wolves in sheep skins amongst our population.”
“These measures include the suspension of all monetary transactions on the phone base mobile money platforms in order to facilitate intrusive investigations, leading to the arrest and prosecution of offenders,” he said.
According to South Africa’s Fin24, the government said all mobile money platforms were complicit in illicit activities including Strive Masiyiwa’s own mobile payment platform Ecocash, which “…is the centre pivot of this problem and its resultant impact on the Zimbabwe economy”.
Masiyiwa is a Zimbabwe’s US dollar billionaire and founder of international mobile phone company, Econet Wireless Group.
“Concurrently, the measures will also include the suspension of all trading on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.”
The ZSE has seen increased volumes this year with June turnover of Z$1.9 billion almost matching the Z$2 billion that was traded the whole of last year.
The stock exchange was accused of housing “fake counters”.
However, the governments said the ban will remain until the stock market and mobile money operations have been reformed to their original purpose and all currency phantom rates of exchange have converged into genuine a rate that is determined by market forces
Zimbabwe has battled inflation and poor economic conditions for decades. From the reign of the late Robert Mugabe. For some years, Zimbabwe had to stop the use of its own currency, the Zimbabwean Dollar. It was reintroduced in 2016 and pegged 1:1 to the US Dollar, however, this did not stop the continuous depreciation of the local currency.