Some officials, mostly soldiers and nurses, were unable to access their salaries on Friday after a Mauritanian company turned off the electronic payment processing system.
Most of Zimbabwe's banks use Paynet, which is owned by the financial services provider of Mauritius, Payserv Africa, to process interbank transactions. As part of the agreement, local banks pay the service provider in US dollars. But the difference between the banks and Paynet has caused an interruption in the service.
"We're sorry to inform our valuable clients that Payserv Africa has suspended Paynet services to all banks due to the non-payment of service quotas," explains a statement from Paynet.
Banks argue that they can not pay in foreign currency because the installation is mainly for RTGS money. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its Zimbabwe Personnel Tracking Program (PYMES) said the value of assets in the banking sector had decreased in real terms by 40% at the end of last year. As such, the payment of Paynet services in foreign currency will make the situation worse.
Some officials who did not receive bank notifications on the payday approached their financial institutions just to say that there was a system error that was rectified.
"I continued to check my balance and there was nothing and when I got to the bank they told me to check me on a Monday," said a nurse.
Officials are concerned about the fact that their wages will probably have lost value when they pay.
"As soon as I'm paid, I buy forex on the streets because the RTGS dollar loses its value almost weekly. If my salary could reach R1,000 in the streets of Monday, I can only get at most R900, "added the nurse.
On Friday, noon, the R100 was worth paying 60 euros, while the $ 100 was 900 euros.
"Rates increase faster when demand is high. Officials pay days for demand," said an illegal currency dealer.