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Mike Sonko decries poor Safaricom MPESA Services

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko is the latest to be affected by a growing problem of Safaricom being ‘broke’.

“Hawa mpesa siku hizi wako na kaujuaji nafkiri pesa imekuwa mingi mpaka wakaanza madharau. Imagine I have a balance of 4792/= and 27k fuliza balance I have been trying to send kitu kidogo kidogo to hustlers but imekuwa ikikataa since 4 pm upto now”, he tweeted 2 hours ago by the time we went to the press.

Over the past years, we have shared concerns by Kenyans over the deteriorating service of the rogue Telco.

MPESA is the latest in our series of articles on those complaints.

CAPTION: Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko

Danger ahead

In 2016, a National Treasury report warned of the dangers of having one Telco control the mobile money markets.

In brief, the Treasury’s Budget Policy Statement (BPS) said that a technology disaster affecting the M-Pesa-dominated mobile transactions is a fiscal risk, placing the money transfer systems among other potential threats to the economy that are watched keenly by policy wonks.

The authors of the report predict that an M-Pesa outage would cause loss of revenue — direct excise tax and corporate tax by firms running the systems — and reduce confidence in the services.

That was the first time the mobile money transfer system featured among the fiscal risks, indicative of the strategic importance it has acquired in Kenya’s economy.

Former Nairobi County Governor Mike Sonko’s screenshot

The BPS noted that various financial products have been leveraged on the M-Pesa payment channel, increasing the inter-linkages between the technology and the banking sector.

READ: Broke Safaricom now forcing clients to redeem Bonga Points

“If this system was to be compromised, the impact would be substantial considering the linkages and the corporate tax revenue for government,” concludes the BPS.

Cracks are emerging

Since Peter Ndegwa took over, internal boardroom wrangles directly hit the Telco’s service provision.

Complaints online and offline were off the hook.

The cracks are emerging over years later as complaints over the cost of MPESA sending and withdrawals, lack of service, slow service, and numerous service downturn have increased.

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