BY REX MPHISA
THE Cross Border Traders Association and FBC Bank have entered into a deal where members of the former will no longer carry cash but a bank Mastercard capable of international transactions.
Cross Border Traders Association chief executive Killer Zivhu said the new facility will reduce the risk of robberies on members and provide various advantages among them border chances of business expansion.
“We arrived at this idea having seen that our members have of late become victim to robberies. Traders will no longer have the discomfort of carrying large amounts of cash and will be able to access loans to expand their businesses,” Zivhu said at the weekend.
He was in Musina with 25 members of his association drawn from across Zimbabwe who were in that country to “test” the new facility.
“We are here promoting the use of plastic money. As an association we have realised a lot of complaints from our members especially on the issue of robberies which have been taking place almost everyday. So we decided to use plastic money and that is what brought us here today,” he told journalists.
“We want to thank the President of Zimbabwe ED Mnangagwa for a job well done as regards the management of COVID 19. The borders are now open and we used our vaccination cards. We are back in business and we encourage other people to vaccinate so that you are safe and also make others safe,” he said.
Zivhu encouraged traders to order goods not produced locally and looking at the imminent drought he asked traders to aim at milling imports.
Scores of cross-border traders, part of the many informal economic actors in Zimbabwe have been robbed in several unrelated incidences in both Zimbabwe and South Africa on their way to and from shopping.
Robbers were attracted by large sums of money carried in cash by the traders, mostly women from various parts of the country.
Zivhu said his arrangement with banks will see the financial institutions funding orders from tax compliant customers.
“Banks have been encouraged to give cross-border traders loans and we also encouraging you to get orders and get “order finance facilities” from banks,” he said.
The 25 out of the more than 100 traders who made the trip to SA on Saturday were all able to transact with their newly acquired cards. Others were reportedly sceptical about operations of the borders opened two weeks ago after two years of closure due COVID 19.
“We are excited about this development because there is security. We are able to expand and with a bank card you shop freely and relaxed,” a beneficiary from Bulawayo Loice Nduna said.
Meanwhile border operations have resumed in full swing despite lower numbers of travellers using the official crossing points.
Officials from both Zimbabwe and South Africa were still updating themselves with the new requirement s which allow fully vaccinated travellers production of their vaccination cards.
Unvaccinated travellers produce PCR tests results that are not 48 and 72 hours old in Zimbabwe and South Africa respectively.
Parties of Zimbabweans travelling to SA had problems with their vaccination cards without security features issued earlier at the beginning of the pandemic which many SA officials doubted.
Delays however continued to haunt Zimbabweans in both exit and return as officials in the border, mostly police and security guards have established several checkpoints which delay travellers.
“We have been stopped more than four times and it’s worse than before. It’s nauseating to say the truth,” a travelled James Moyo said.
“We hoped the upgrading of the border would reduce time but it looks like the time is increasing,” he said. Be