By Staff Reporter
Harare, May 23, 2016 – THE government says it is considering introducing the use of plastic money for the convenience of pensioners who are often forced to travel long distances from their rural homes to urban centres to access their monies deposited through banking institutions.
This was said by Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Priscah Mupfumira in the Senate this past week.
She had been asked by Senator Lillian Timveos if government had solutions for the aged who sometimes spend a week in queues while trying to access their pensions due to the current cash crisis.
“The Ministry and the Public Service Commission is seized with that issue and we are looking at other ways of payment, including using cellphone service providers,” Mupfumira said.
“We are in the process of getting bio-metric data so that we confirm the people who are really living and surviving and we want to come up with a situation where people would be able to use even plastic money in their areas they live instead of travelling to get that payment.”
Minister Mupfumira warned business operators who are in the habit of forcing old people to buy goods from their shops if they wanted to access cash from point of sale machines.
“Obviously it is illegal for any conditional selling. If it is brought to the authorities’ attention, it will be dealt with accordingly and the relevant Ministry should be advised,” she said.
Mupfumira was responding to Chief Fortune Charumbira who said some businesses only issue out cash when on condition the pensioners bought goods worth half of their monthly pensions and received change in cash.
“The plastic money I was talking about is like your visa cards and so forth because we are moving away, like everywhere else in the world, from using cash or transporting cash and we are saying we need to get everybody on board, including people in rural areas to be able to have that plastic similar to a visa card.
“But that which you are talking about is abuse and should be reported to the relevant authorities,” she said.