As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people are relying on the money sent from loved ones in the Diaspora. But these people are having a tough time in dealing with the police to collect their remittances.
Indeed, substantial number of people who want to collect remittances are complaining about being turned away by the police at checkpoints.
What is happening
Since we are in a lockdown, police has been deployed at various checkpoints to make sure people are not moving about willy-nilly. Consequently, vehicles are being stopped and passengers are being asked to produce documents which permit them to move about.
What the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said
When the RBZ allowed people to start collecting remittances back in April and this issue arised, it led us to make an inquiry with the RBZ about what remittance collectors needed to show law enforcement authorities at checkpoints. And this is what RBZ said:
Kindly note that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe directed Money Transfer Agencies to operate during the lockdown.
Your clients may also consider providing some kind of confirmation that funds have been sent and therefore are to be collected
So people who want to collect their money from World Remit or any other money transfer agency are showing the police confirmation messages or emails which show that they received US dollars that have to be collected
But to their surprise some of them are being turned away despite showing proof that they have a credible reason to move about. One person who recently got turned away quoted a policeman saying:
Handisikuda kuona mamessage emuphone ekunotora mari (I don’t want to be shown text messages for collecting money).
Remittances are essential
When you take into account the fact that remittances are essential to Zimbabwe’s economy and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe gave a greenlight for people to collect their money during the lockdown, it seems unreasonable for the police to inconvenience people like they are doing.
Although the RBZ advised to use confirmation messages to be allowed to move about, it’s not stopping police from turning away people.
The RBZ really needs to make a clarion call in the form of a Directive instructing the police to grant passage to people who want to collect remittances.