The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) says it is re-engaging mobile money operators (MMOs) on the possibility of extending the moratorium on transaction fees levied by them to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a written response on Monday, RBM spokesperson Onelie Nkuna said the memorandum of understanding (MoU) the central bank signed with MMOs envisaged that the coronavirus pandemic would tapper off by June.
She said: “The MoU was, however, subject to review upon assessing the prevalence and impact of the pandemic. .
“Currently, the bank is re-engaging MMOs on the same and hope the process would come to a completion soon.”
In mid-April this year, RBM responded to the Covid-19 pandemic by, among other things, announcing measures to mitigate its impact, including moratorium on bank interest payments and transaction fees levied by MMOs.
Subsequently, Airtel Money and TNM Mpamba transaction fees for sending money were removed.
The implementing institutions included Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM), Malawi Microfinance Network and MNOs such as Airtel Malawi plc and TNM Mpamba who provided a three-month relief on interest and principal payment and transaction fees.
Meanwhile, Airtel Money has reverted to its original transaction fees and account holding balances following the expiry of the three-month moratorium.
In a statement on Saturday, Airtel Malawi plc said effective August 1 2020, fees on all person-to-person transactions for Airtel Money to Airtel Money customers and from Airtel Money to TNM Mpamba customers will be as was on April 22 2020.
But TNM plc head of brand marketing communications Louis Chipofya said the moratorium was still in effect for TNM Mpamba unless otherwise announced.
In a separate interview, BAM chief executive officer Lyness Nkungula said despite the expiry of the three-month moratorium, commercial banks are still assessing the situation and that all customers in distress are required to meet their bankers to map the way forward.
In his reaction, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito said looking at the rising cases of Covid-19 and the financial distress thereof, Malawi needed a long-term economic strategic policy to address the challenges.