Mozambique Banking Outage Wreaks Revenue Havoc for Business

(Bloomberg) -- Mozambican companies are facing a collapse in revenue because of an interbank-payments system outage that began last week, according to the country’s biggest business association.

Retailers are seeing daily sales fall by as much as 90 percent, with restaurants and hotels suffering reductions of as much as 70 percent, Bernado Cumaio, director for financial policy at the Confederation of Business Associations of Mozambique, told reporters Monday.

Bank customers are having to wait in line for cash as a contractual dispute between the country’s national payments system and a software service provider persists, rendering customers unable to swipe their bank cards or withdraw cash from automated teller machines.

The payments system, known as SIMOrede and majority owned by the central bank, is looking for a new software service provider and can’t say when the outage will be resolved, SIMOrede Chairwoman Gertrudes Tovela told reporters on Sunday in Maputo, the capital.

Lenders including the local unit of South Africa’s Standard Bank Group Ltd., Barclays Bank Mozambique SA, Banco de Investimento Global SA and Moza Banco use the SIMOrede system.

On Monday morning, lines snaked outside some banks’ branches in Maputo as customers sought to withdraw their money from tellers inside. About 2.2 million bank cards are affected.

All banks are affected except for Millennium BIM, the southeast African nation’s biggest lender, as it uses its own payments system.

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