The Green Party has expressed dismay at the unregulated financial transaction charges in Zambia, a situation which the party says has led to unabated exploitation of the masses, especially the rural populations.
Speaking in Kitwe this morning, Green Party President Peter Sinkamba expressed dismay at the lack control of transaction charges by the Bank of Zambia to benchmark which has led to banks, financial institutions and financial businesses to charge customers whatever amounts, without any form of recourse to the vulnerable public.
Mr. Sinkamba explained that banks charge anything from K5 to K500 for clients to access their money through the ATMs and over-the-counter transactions, while mobile money providers charge anything from K2 to K100 to send or receive money.
He noted that while the Banking and Financial Services Act No. 7 of 2017 empowers Bank of Zambia to benchmark interest rates and ban compound interest, it appears that the Act does not do so on the regulation on the transaction charges.
“We have noted with dismay that Bank of Zambia regulates and benchmarks interest rates that banks, financial businesses ,and financial institutions charge, however, it lacks power to do so for transaction charges. This lacuna has created a situation where vulnerable customers are exploited by these institutions without any form of recourse to the public,”Mr. Sinkamba said.
He said that while ATM charges range from K5 to K10 per transaction, over-the-counter charges range from K50 to K500 for premium clients.
“The trouble with clients who use banks is that most of the time, the queues at ATMs are too long or ATMs are dysfunctional forcing clients to use over-the-counter transations and thereby are charged exhorbitantly,”Mr. Sinkamba said.
“As for mobile transations, ZOONA for example, charges anything from K2 to K100 depending on the transaction amount. In my view, the transaction charges should not dependent on the amount being sent or amount being received, but on the number of transactions that are conducted, just like is the case with ATM charges. There must be a maximum limit per transaction just is the case with ATMs and Shoprite Money. Basing charges on transaction amount is exploitive behaviour. We therefore urge Bank of Zambia to move in and curtail this exploitive behaviour,”Mr. Sinkamba said.
He said the most affected population is the rural populace where there are very few or no ATMs and Shoprite Money, and therefore rely solely on mobile money provided by ZOONA, Airtel Money and MTN Money. He has challenged Bank of Zambia to issue a policy statement on this issue stating that the Bank has a statutory duty to protect vulnerable customers for exploitation from financial transactions.
“Bank of Zambia is the mandated institution to regulate banking and financial transactions in the country. The Bank should not turn a blind eye to exploitation of the masses. We there challenge the Bank of Zambia Governor Dr Denny Kalyalya to immediately clarify on this policy issue,”Mr. Sinkamba charged.
Issued by Green Party Media