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» » Masvingo businessman ‘Phidza’ defies Govt on externalisation

…Minister Hungwe says appropriate action will be taken

Brighton Chiseva

– In an act of defiance against President Emmerson Mnangagwa's call for easy of doing business by embracing plastic money, prominent businessman, Philip 'Phidza' Mapfumo does not accept EcoCash or swipe payments at his fuel garage situated in the industrial area amid speculation that he demands only cash which he externalises.
President Mnangagwa and his government have come up with the 'Zimbabwe is open for business' mantra by which they are championing the easy of doing business and the use of plastic money.
Mapfumo's company DocZine appeared in the second category of funds externalised through payment of goods not received in Zimbabwe, with US$36 778 unaccounted for when President Mnangagwa named and shamed those who externalised funds earlier this year.
An investigation by TellZim News for the past month following complaints by motorists established that DocZine fuel station, which is run by Mapfumo, strictly demands cash payments only, raising suspicion that the businessman might be externalising money he is collecting since he does not transact through swipe or EcoCash.
When conducted for comment, Mapfumo appeared as if he has a special class of people he allows to use swipe or EcoCash. He however, lied to TellZim News that all motorists who want fuel worth more than US$50 are allowed to use swipe or EcoCash as TellZim News reporters went there under cover and were denied to use plastic money for more than $50 fuel.
"We accept swipe or EcoCash for all motorists who buy fuel worth more than $50. We have clients that we cannot disappoint by not accepting swipe or EcoCash," said Mapfumo.
When TellZim News revealed to him that he was lying that any motorist who wants fuel worthy more than US$50 was allowed to use EcoCash or swipe, Mapfumo said if TellZim newsroom wants to use swipe or EcoCash they can phone him any time.
"If you want to pay using swipe or EcoCash just call me and I will give instruction to the guys," Mapfumo said.
The Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs, Josaya Hungwe said he will do investigations on businesses that are not cooperating with government so that he will be able to act accordingly.
"I want the names of those who are doing that. Right now I'm in Harare but when I come back, I will do investigations. Once I have them, appropriate action will be taken; we cannot continue watching such businesses sabotaging our government," said Hungwe.
Many taxi operators, however, told TellZim News that the DocZine fuel station does reject Ecocash and card payments of whatever amount.
"They do not want anything but cash. One day I went there to buy fuel with EcoCash and they kept on saying I should wait. I spend over 20 minutes there and eventually left before being served," said a taxi operator who plies the Masvingo - Mashava route.
Earlier this year, DocZine Investments appeared on President Mnangagwa's list of alleged externalisers.
Mapfumo said his company's policy was to accept electronic payments only if they amounted to at least US$50, meaning ordinary motorists who cannot afford to pay that much for fuel at one go are required to pay cash.
All other fuel service stations in the city accept any form of payment; be it cash, swipe or EcoCash of whatever amount.
The Home Affairs passport and national identity registration offices, as well as the police also do not accept EcoCash but they do accept news

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