Tag Archives: Business

NetOne registers marginal revenue growth

STATE-OWNED telecommunications giant, NetOne last year registered a marginal revenue growth of 1% in 2016, earning $115 million compared to $114 million the previous year.

BUSINESS REPORTERS

NetOne acting chairperson Peter Chingoka

NetOne acting chairperson Peter Chingoka

The mobile operator was the only one to record a growth as its two other competitors, Econet and Telecel, registered revenue decline of varying magnitude according to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority report of 2016.

According to NetOne’s 2016 financial results released on Friday at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM), Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) grew to $41,6 million in 2016 compared to $24,6 million in 2015, indicative of the business potential.

The company, however, registered a loss of $2,7 million compared to $2,6 million recorded the previous year.

NetOne said revenue performance was a direct result of a number of initiatives put in place by management to drive business growth, mainly the offering of customer-centric products, broadening the product and service offering and the realising of existing products, while driving subscriber acquisition.

“One such initiative was the introduction of OneFusion in May 2016, whose uptake has been on the upward trend since launch. The business will continue to introduce disruptive customer-centric products in order to drive revenue growth and subscriber acquisition and retention,” the company said.

In a statement accompanying the company’s results, acting chairperson, Peter Chingoka said the marginal revenue growth was due to depressed demand experienced during the year due to liquidity challenges experienced countrywide.

“Overheads for the period remained high due to network expansion projects which resulted in more network overhead than planned. Structurally, cost rationalisation remains a focus area for the board and management in order to manage energy costs, security costs, site rental costs, transmission rental, various licensing costs as well as staff costs,” Chingoka said.

NetOne acting chief executive officer, Brian Mutandiro said the concessional $218 million China Exim Bank facility provided the much needed debt capital to expand the network.

Mutandiro said, while management remained resilient and focussed on driving the performance of the business, legacy-related issues continued to slow progress in key areas.

“The year under review saw the forensic audit which took close to five months to conclude and the attendant publicity on the business that went with it,” he said.

“Despite this, concerted efforts to improve the company’s debt profile were made, with various suppliers re-opening credit facilities to the business, others being engaged on payment plans as well clearance of legacy tax obligations of just over $7 million, as management remained focussed on moving the business forward.”

Meanwhile, Telone’s revenues for the first five months of the year remained stagnated at $50 million, a meagre 1% improvement compared to the 2016’s comparative period on the back of unpaid debt owed to them and legacy loans.

In TelOne’s results for the financial year ending December 31, 2016, the operator made a loss of $24,92 million from the previous year’s profit after tax of $5,81 million with legacy loans factoring in.

TelOne managing director, Chipo Mutasa told journalists on the sidelines of TelOne’s AGM of their financial results for the year-ended December 2016 on Friday, that both their debtors and legacy loans were hampering them from turning a profit.

“We have a huge debtors’ book. Right now, I would say that government debtors were at $59 million at the end of May, the lack of consistent payments is really affecting us. For households, it was about $20 million, corporates at $22 million, parastatals and State-owned enterprises at $39 million, the smaller ones (local authorities) $4 million and there is what we call interconnection and other wholesale partners at $4 million,” she said.

“We also need our legacy loans to be dealt with conclusively, but we definitely have a plan that our loss position has to be narrower. We think that we will not be able to get out of all the losses this year, but going into 2018, by mid-2018, we should be coming back.”

TelOne was owed $150 million at the end of the five months and while legacy loans totalled $364 million at the end of 2016.

Driving the stagnated revenues in the first five months of the year was a decline in voice revenues which is on course to close 2017 below the 66% contribution recorded from this segment in 2016.

However, TelOne recorded an increase of revenue generated from their broadband business to 32% in the first five months from 2016’s comparative period of 23% which is on course to close higher by the end of the year.

As such, Mutasa said $14 million from a $98 million China-Exim bank facility would be spent on upgrading its broadband this year.

Information and Communication Technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira said the government directly and indirectly through parastatals owed nearly $100 million to TelOne.

“We have already been engaging with the minister of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa, to see if we can put a structure in place to see if government could honour its obligations, telecommunication obligations to TelOne, NetOne and Telecel through a structure that then allows these operations to be sustainable,” he said.

Ecobank approves $400m in convertible bonds

ECOBANK Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the parent company of the Ecobank Group has approved the issue of up to $400 million in convertible bonds.

BY BUSINESS REPORTER

The group said the convertible bond issue will have a maturity of five years and a coupon of 6,46% above three-month LIBOR, with an option to convert at an exercise price of 6 US cents during the conversion period.

The bonds will be on offer to all Ecobank shareholders on identical terms shortly.

Ecobank is an independent pan-African banking group and currently has a presence in 33 African countries including Zimbabwe. As of January 2012 the bank maintains a network of nine operational branches in the country.

The group said in a statement proceeds have been earmarked to repay the bridging finance required to create a Resolution Vehicle to manage Ecobank’s legacy loan portfolio and to optimise the maturities of the group’s debt portfolio.

“We are delighted with the strength of the support shown for the issue by our existing shareholders, as it vindicates the vigorous action taken to address our challenged legacy assets, as well as indicating their confidence in Ecobank’s future,” Ecobank’s Group chairman, Emmanuel Ikazaboh said at the 29th Annual General Meeting and Extraordinary General Meeting, held in Lomé.

“Nevertheless, it is a matter of great regret that the Board was unable to recommend the payment of a dividend in respect of 2016,” he continued. “Ecobank’s senior management is united in its firm resolve to work urgently, yet diligently, to reinstate cash dividends as soon as ETI’s financial position permits.”

Commenting on Ecobank’s recent performance, Ade Ayeyemi, group CEO, said despite continued macroeconomic challenges in some parts of the continent, all of businesses were making meaningful progress, with an ongoing focus on cost discipline, stringent credit control and the increasing digitisation of our services to enhance the customer experience.

“We are proactively resolving our legacy loan issues, achieving $2 million of recoveries from the Resolution Vehicle in the first quarter of 2017. I am confident that these positive developments will be reflected in an improving performance from Ecobank going forward,” Ayeyemi said.

According to the statement , the group employs over 17 500 people in 36 different countries in over
1 200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organisations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.

Month-on-month inflation up 0,27%

Inflation rose slightly in May, with the price of goods and services going up by an average of 0,75%, the highest it has been in more than three-and-a-half years, the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency (ZimStat) revealed.

By Fidelity Mhlanga

In April, year-on-year inflation, measured by the all items Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 0,48%, meaning it gained by 0,27 percentage points.

Zimstat said year-on-year food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation, prone to transitory shocks, stood at 1,92 %, while the non-food inflation rate was 0,21 %.

The month-on-month inflation rate in May 2017 was 0,03% shedding 0,02 percentage points on the April 2017 rate of 0,05 %.

The month-on-month food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation rate was 0,07 % in May 2017, gaining 0,43 percentage points on the April 2017 rate of -0,36 %.

Economist, Clemence Machadu noted that the gain in inflation was largely driven by food items, forecasting that it will hit 2% at the beginning of September.

“Well, we haven’t had inflation as high as this in the past three-and-half years,” he said.

“It seems inflation is continuing to gain sharply, largely driven by the food inflation, which rose to 1,84 %.

“If inflation continues to make these substantial gains, I see it surpassing 1% by end of June and possibly rising to hit the 2% mark by the beginning of the fourth quarter.”

Zimbabwe first slipped out of deflation in February after year-on-year inflation for the month stood at 0,06% from the January figures of -0,65%.

“When you look at the main drivers, you will realise that bread and cereals contributed the most at 2,37%, followed by meat 1,84%, then we can also talk about vegetables 2,02%, and oils and fats, as well as fish and sea food,” he said.

Machadu said it appears that food inflation might continue gaining, reinforced by the government’s plans to implement the food fortification programme starting next month.

“As manufacturers now have to add more ingredients in the production of basic goods, by including the legislated micro-nutrients, it obviously translates to higher costs of production, which will be passed on to the consumer, which will fuel price increases,” Machadu said.

“Interestingly, when we look at top inflation risers, we also realise that liquid fuels have registered a sharp inflation rise of 17,06%, from 1,14% in April.

“And it’s ironic that this is happening at a time when the government has increased ethanol blending thresholds from 5 to 10%.”

Cabs seeks more land for Byo housing project

LEADING mortgage lender, Cabs, has applied to the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) requesting to purchase additional 200 residential stands in Pumula South to make its housing project viable, latest council minutes show.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

According to the latest council minutes, Cabs, a subsidiary of Old Mutual Zimbabwe, has written to BCC requesting for additional land.

Council in 2005 resolved to sell 1 983 residential stands in Nkulumane 1 Phase 3 and Pumula South Phase 3 to Cabs to service and develop residential houses.

On receiving the offer letter for the stands, council said Cabs board decided to accept only 845 stands out of the original 1 983 stands, that is, 589 residential stands in Nkulumane 1 Phase 3 and 273 residential stands in Pumula South Phase 3.

CABS then decided to phase their development, with the first phase comprising of 165 stands in Nkulumane1 Phase 3 and 98 stands in Pumula South Phase 3.

This phase is now fully developed, council said.

“The company now intends to embark on the development of phase 2 of the project. In order to service these stands there is need to put up an outfall sewer which is about 800 metres long at a cost of $115 000 to service the stands,” read the minutes in part.

“CABS has, therefore, written to apply to purchase additional stands so as to cushion them as they intend to put up this outfall sewer”.

In its application letter, Cabs said the additional cost of the outfall sewer was negatively impacting the servicing cost and hence the selling price of stands. It said the outfall sewer is however, critical and it will help unlock development in the surrounding area.

“It is against the above background that we request for additional 200 stands in Pumula South. There is a school site abutting the Pumula South scheme which we understand some portions of it could be considered for residential development,” reads part of the application.

“This, if accepted, will bring the total number of available stands to 596 and these will be pre-sold and serviced under phase 1. The sharing of the outfall sewer cost by a bigger number of stands will help improve affordability.
If the additional stands are not available stands prices for the available 396 stands will have to be increased”.

Cabs said it has commenced pre-selling on Pumula South stands and demand was very exciting. It now plans to commence servicing after pre-selling 25% of the available stands and, as such, look forward to a positive response on our request for additional stands.

Cabs is also set to build over 2 700 housing units in Bulawayo’s Nkulumane and Pumula South high-density suburbs.

The construction of the houses under the project is being done under the Old Mutual Housing Fund aimed at easing accommodation challenges in the country.

The first project under a similar fund was done in Budiriro high-density suburb in Harare, where
2 795 houses were built.

The Budiriro Housing Project saw Old Mutual, through its subsidiary, injecting $15 million into the project.

Ipec goes micro to drive financial inclusion

The Insurance and Pension Commission (Ipec) has come up with the micro insurance strategy as a way of enhancing financial inclusion targeting the previously excluded population such as small-to-medium enterprises, peasant farmers, vendors and other low income earners.

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA

Ipec commissioner, Tendai Karonga, said on Friday the strategy was aimed at covering a huge gap on insurance uptake by way of assisting low income households and providing them a sense of financial confidence.

“Firstly, it can be used as a poverty alleviation strategy that assists low income households to manage risk by providing them with a sense of financial confidence in the face of significant vulnerabilities such as death, injury and illness, loss of property, effects of drought and other contingent events,” he said.

According to the Finscope survey done in 2014, 70% of adults in the country were not insured. Of the 30% with insurance, 77% of them are funeral insurance which shows a huge gap on the insurance uptake.

“For instance, if farmers insure their crops and there is drought or floods, their insurer may refund costs of inputs such as seed and fertilizers. This way, the farmer will not stride back to poverty. And this will be done at a very affordable premium. Secondly, on societal benefit, micro insurance allows the financially excluded people to be insured and thereby increase their financial security and independence,” he said.

Karonga said micro insurance enhances economic development as the pool of resources can be channelled towards national projects such as power generation, housing and infrastructure development.

Micro insurance is a growth area envisaged to increase penetration ratio from the current 3,6 % as more members of society will access and afford insurance products that match their needs.

In Ghana for instance, penetration ratio rose drastically from less than 5% to more than 20% after the adoption of micro insurance.

Distribution channels for micro insurance, Karonga said, would be microfinance institutions, mobile network operators, church organisations and burial societies among others.

“Micro insurance products will also be linked to microfinance and micro pensions. To enhance secure key stakeholder buy-in, the Commission came up with a steering committee that will oversee the implementation of Micro insurance in the country. The Committee is led by a high ranking official from our parent ministry-Ministry of Finance and Economic Development,” Karonga said.

Principal director (Fiscal Policy) in the ministry of Finance, Pfungwa Kunaka, said insurance administrators, supervisors and policy institutions across the globe have thus realised the need for a conducive and enabling regulatory environment for the development of the insurance industry.

“At regional level, the regulation of micro insurance is being harmonised under the auspices of the committee of insurance, securities and non-bank financial authorities,” he said.

IPEC warns insurance players

THE Insurance and Pensions Commission (Ipec) has warned industry players against the use of fictitious assets to meet the minimum capital requirements.

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA

Ipec commissioner, Tendai Karonga yesterday said since the adoption of the multicurrency regime, the commission has reviewed minimum capital requirements resulting in some insurers revaluing their assets in a desperate bid to comply with the revised minimum capital requirements.

“Some questionable assets such as intangible assets, encumbered assets as well as assets not registered in the name of the insurer are being applied as capital by the same insurers,” Karonga told delegates at the seminar, jointly organised with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe.

Ipec in 2013 doubled the minimum capital requirements for the sector, with short-term insurers required to achieve a minimum capital level of $1,5 million and life assurers having to put up $2 million.

Karonga said the situation was worsened when asset revaluation was conducted by unqualified and conflicted valuators adding that when conducting audits the accounting profession should be on the lookout for such issues and report them to the commission.

“Against this background, we implore the accounting profession to be always on the lookout for treatment of premium debtor’s vis-à-vis regulatory requirements. This will ensure that regulated entities do not report “fictitious” assets, which create a false sense of security to their customers,” he said.

Karonga implored the accounting profession to interrogate valuation reports which form the basis of figures reported by insurance companies with a view that some asset valuations were being conducted by unqualified parties such as loss adjusters.

Due to the current obtaining harsh economic environment, the Ipec boss said, some policyholders were entering into arrangements to pay premiums in instalments adding that the commission has come up with a position whereby short-term insurance companies are supposed to write off premium debtors aged more than 90 days.

Karonga said another issue of regulatory concern was that some insurance companies were relying on their in-house actuarial resources to conduct valuation of liabilities calling into question the independence of such valuations.

“The commission continues to note challenges in the market whereby actuarial valuations are conducted after conduct of an audit for insurance companies. In extreme cases, the actuarial valuations are not even conducted a situation which casts doubt on the values of liabilities reported. We believe that under subdued economic conditions, actuarial valuations should be conducted annually. We recognise that this has cost implications, but the cost of not doing actuarial valuations is higher,” he said.

The insurance industry is prevalent with cases of insider loans perpetuated through owner-managed insurance companies wherein insurers use premiums to bankroll their activities or bankroll other subsidiaries.

He said the proposed amendments to the Insurance Act would require that all insurance companies publish their financial statements, regardless of whether they are listed on the stock exchange.

“This will help in instilling market discipline since stakeholders will now be more informed and will, therefore, punish insurers whose financial statements will not be depicting a good standing,” Karonga said.

Government seeks $250 million for telecoms project

THE government is in the process of engaging investors to raise $250 million to fund the construction of 600 telecommunications towers across the country and avert poor mobile network connectivity, an official has said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

ICT permanent secretary Sam Kundishora

ICT permanent secretary Sam Kundishora

In an interview with NewsDay, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Sam Kundishora said the government was working to ensure that funds were raised from the investment community.

“We have to seek funding from investors and that is the process we are engaged in at the moment. So it’s a programme which is on-going definitely, but it’s very difficult to tell you that you would see the $250 million project implemented in 2018, for example. It will be very difficult to say that,” Kundishora said.

“But we are working hard to ensure that the funds are raised from the investment community and once that is done we will let you know.”

Recently, ICT minister Supa Mandiwanzira revealed that the government has approved a $250 million project to build more than 600 towers and base stations across the country.

He said the project should be able to address challenges of poor mobile network coverage.

Mandiwanzira said the project was being conducted by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe to ensure cellphone services were available in remote areas through infrastructure sharing.

Kundishora said: “We have also received complaints in areas where there is poor mobile coverage, and those are issues we are trying to address. We have also talked to the regulator because the regulator has to monitor those aspects and the regulator has to speak to the operators concerned. So this is an on-going exercise and we believe that operators are doing something about it.”

RBZ introduces direct access to forms CD1, disintermediates banks

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) recently issued a Press statement as part of its efforts to enhance the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe. “In order to reduce time taken to prepare export documentation, and for the convenience of the exporters, the Form CD1 is now directly accessible via Internet, through the Computerised Export Payments Exchange Control System (CEPECS),” said the apex bank’s exchange control division in the statement dated June 1, 2017.

OMEN MUZA

The CEPECS is a web-based and real time exchange control system that links the RBZ to commercial banks, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), exporters and other government agencies that facilitate and promote export of goods and services. This article explores some of the key implications of this regulatory development.

Convenience

Once exporters migrate to CEPECS, they will be able to raise Forms CD1, and generate export performance reports in the comfort of their own offices, thereby eliminating the expense of multiple trips to the bank and the attendant follow-ups. CEPECS also enables exporters to raise Forms CD1 outside banking business hours, on weekends and/or during public holidays something that should help to evenly distribute the flow of exports documents through the country’s ports of exit. All this, of course, translates to convenience, which in this case is contextualised as “ease of doing export business” and will enable exporters to expedite their export orders and ultimately improve the inflow of foreign currency into the country. However, before exporters can enjoy these benefits, they will need to go through a user registration process followed by allocation of usernames and passwords by the RBZ’s Exports Department, enabling them to log onto the CEPECS website.

ICT and operational considerations

Apart from access to the Internet, no additional software installations are required on the part of exporters in order to have direct access to CEPECS. For its part, the RBZ must, however, ensure that its Export Department is adequately manned so that authorisation of the Form CD1 is done promptly in order to avoid bottlenecks that would render the operation of the new system sub-optimal. For instance, if a nominated person forgets their password, the export department should be able to reset it promptly in order to avoid delays.

It is clear that the RBZ has centralised the process of issuance of forms CD1 and in its statement indicates that: “Any assistance required by an exporter to raise a Form CD1 or generate an export performance report, can be provided by contacting an Exports Facilitator/Analyst.” The RBZ will now be the main point of contact with exporters as far as forms CD1 are concerned and the apex bank should be under no illusion about the amount of work involved hence the need to configure itself appropriately.

Exchange control also commits that responses to export applications that require prior exchange control approval will be provided within three working days from the date of receipt of such applications. This is an area in which the RBZ must put its money where its mouth is because, from experience, the reality could turn out to be something totally unpalatable, to the utter dismay of both banks and exporters.

Disintermediation

While contemplating the impact of this development, the first thing that came to my mind was that while most welcome — given the objective of enhancing exporter convenience — the move has the effect of disintermediating banks. Previously, forms CD1 were accessible through banks which issued manual forms CD1, captured them in the system for approval after they had been completed manually by the customers; and managed the acquittal process.

From an operational point of view, the new arrangement can still be a good thing for banks as it takes away significant administrative burden, meaning that they can focus their energies on improving service levels in other aspects of their operations. Any officer in the export department of a local bank will confirm how cumbersome the process of issuing forms CD1 could be.

Loss of revenue

In the Press statement, the RBZ states that the “raising of Forms CD1 through commercial banks remains in place to accommodate those exporters who may still want to access Forms CD1 via commercial banks.” Logically, it will not make sense for exporters to go through banks when they can go directly to the RBZ through CEPECS. Ultimately, the majority of forms CD1 will be raised without the intervention of banks and this implies loss of revenue on their part since they used to charge $5 for each Form CD1. In the Press statement, the RBZ does not indicate whether it will be charging for its services on the CEPECS and whether banks can charge for their services.

What is also not clear from the RBZ’s statement is how banks will monitor the expiry of Forms CD1 since issuance can happen without their knowledge, yet export proceeds must be received through normal commercial banking channels. If the CEPECS does not promptly notify the relevant banks of forms CD1 issued in their names, follow up and acquittal of forms CDI could remain problematic, much to the chagrin of banks.

Omen N. Muza is the founder and editor of the MFSB. You can view his LinkedIn profile at zw.linkedin.com/pub/omen-n-muza/30/641/3b8 or initiate contact on omen.muza@gmail.com.

Parly to summon RBZ bosses over forex

THE parliamentary portfolio committee on Finance and Economic Development will summon central bank officials responsible for handling foreign currency amid allegations of misappropriation of the foreign exchange.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

John Mangudya

John Mangudya

The allegations, which surfaced when Finance permanent secretary Willard Manungo and central bank governor John Mangudya appeared before the committee on Monday, came at a time when the economy has been experiencing foreign currency shortage. The monetary authorities attribute the cash shortage to a mismatch between exports and imports.

Harare East legislator Terrence Mukupe asked Mangudya whether he would allow the committee to summon some of his officials for a public hearing to question them based on information they had.

However, committee chairperson David Chapfika said they did not need Mangudya’s permission as the RBZ fell under the committee’s purview.

“So then we will call these senior officials at the RBZ [Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe] to come for a public hearing and ask them whether they are doing that [misappropriating cash] and if they are, we will look into that,” Mukupe said.

Prior to that statement, Mukupe had expressed doubt on whether Zimbabweans had faith in some of the RBZ officials.

“When we hear of things that some of your officials are doing it is up to us to hold you accountable and look into them,” he said.

The legislator had questioned whether Mangudya was conducting regular lifestyle audits to make sure that his officials were not misappropriating funds.

However, Mangudya neither confirmed nor denied whether any lifestyle audits were done on his subordinates, but reiterated his confidence in his team.

“If any of the officials are doing such acts [abusing their positions] then please bring it to my attention and they will be looked into,” he said.

This comes as the central bank recorded $2,4 billion in foreign currency that has arrived into the country between January and May 31 this year from mainly exports and diaspora remittances.

Of the foreign currency received during that period, RBZ retained about 30% with Mangudya highlighting they could account for that portion of the funds and not the 70% kept by banks.

“On our books there should be enough cash circulating in the economy, but we are finding that is not the case due to market indiscipline,” he said.

Invest in ICT infrastructure, Agribank urged

The government wants Agribank to upgrade its ICT infrastructure after the financial institution experienced a surge in e-transactions to 1,7 million in April this year from 20 000 recorded at the start of the year as deposits rose significantly.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

In the first five months of the year, Agribank recorded a profit before tax of $1,8 million compared to a budgeted profit of

$463 203 in the five-month period of January to May this year on the back of interest income earned on the capitalisation of Treasury Bills.

Speaking at the bank’s annual general meeting in Harare yesterday, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa implored Agribank to invest more in the ICT infrastructure.

“The bank has certain challenges, some of them which are a result of some of the successes that we have achieved, while others are to do with the increased use of plastic money. For instance, where in previous years plastic transactions were 213, these have since grown to 1,7 million transactions. That, from my point of view, is a very positive development. But it poses challenges on the bank in the sense that the ICT structure is not coping,” he said.

“So as we go into the future, this is an area that they [Agribank] have to attend to seriously so that they rectify it to a position where they can cope with the increases in plastic transactions. But, I am looking at it as a very positive thing. All they need to do is put more resources to upgrade their ICT infrastructure.”

Agribank overturned its previous loss making position to a profit of $4,8 million for their financial year ending December 31 2016. It had posted a loss of $6,8 million in 2015.

In the January to May period, customer deposits rose by 15,2% to $102,73 million from a budgeted $89,15 million.

The shareholders’ equity also rose during the period by 15% to $51,09 million from a budgeted $44,31 million.

Besides the interest income earned on Treasury Bills, the overall performance was owing to a surge in e-transactions which made the bank set aside over $2 million to invest in upgrading their ICT infrastructure.

Agribank chief executive officer Somkhosi Malaba said that the $2 million could even rise by over $5 million if they keep witnessing such growth in numbers.

“That growth is continuing as we increase the number of POS (point of sale) machines. We are doing another 2 500 POS machines, we are also introducing agency banking. Basically, we are just saying that the market will just have to focus on e-channels. If you go to South Africa, you do not use cash, if you got to the UK, you do not use cash you use your cards so we have to get into that system of using POS machines,” he said.

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