Over $300 Million Meant For Cotton Farmers Locked In EcoCash Merchant Lines – Report

The government’s decision to ban bulk payments and some mobile money transactions have dealt a blow on cotton farmers who usually receive their proceeds through mobile money platforms, as $300 million is stuck in merchant lines and cannot be accessed till the ban is lifted, The Herald reports.

The matter came to light in parly where Gokwe Nembudziya legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena was lobbying for COTTCO to be exempted from the ban to ensure farmers are paid their dues.

Wadyajena speaking on behalf of his parliamentary committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water and Resettlement said:

This means cotton farmers remain unpaid to date with many essentially in a desperate situation requiring urgent redress. According to previous submissions by the regulator, the Agricultural and Marketing Authority, Cotton Company of Zimbabwe enjoys around 90 percent market share.

The RBZ must within 48hrs of presenting this report to Parliament, unfreeze over ZWL300million trapped in Cottco Econet merchant lines which is meant to pay for farmers. The RBZ may institute investigations into the past usage of Cottco’ss merchant lines and if any abuse is detected, punitive and corrective measures must be taken while at the same time protecting all innocent farmers.

The Ministry of Finance must with immediate effect, issue a waiver to all cotton buying companies registered with AMA not to deduct 10 percent withholding tax from the payments to the cotton farmers.

Farmers last week complained that they were being paid $500 per day and their proceeds were stuck in COTTCO’s merchant lines. The government last month banned some mobile money transactions as it said they were fueling the black market foreign currency rate.

More: The Herald 

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