Telecommunication Companies Protests Over CBK’s Move to Extend Free Money Transfers

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Telecommunication companies and banks have protested over CBK’s decision to extend free mobile money transfers without considering their opinions. Free mobile money transfer was extended for another 6 months.
The firms’ executives claimed that CBK should have at least extended free money transfers for a shorter period or introduce discounts on the charges to prevent the companies from losing so much.

The regulator introduced measures to avoid using cash in mobile money transfers. This came after the government said the physical use of cash would accelerate the spread of coronavirus.

The CBK ordered banks to avoid charging mobile phone money transactions of below sh.1000. Charges were also removed for customers transferring money between their wallets and bank accounts.

Safaricom, which is a major telecommunication company had said that with the removal of mess charges, it has been losing an average of sh.1.8 billion since mid-march. According to the company, it could miss up to sh16.2 billion sales by December which is equivalent to 5% of its annual sales.

Safaricom refused to comment on the move towards the extension of free money transfers.

The banks had made plans for their members to decide on the fate of free mobile money transfers before CBK gave its directive.

“CBK issued the directive without consulting anyone and did not even have the courtesy of acknowledging that banks have played a huge role in the initiative,” said one bank executive.

KCB chief executive, Joshua Oigara, said that the bankers will have a meeting on Friday with Patrick Njoroge, CBK governor. He however declined to say whether he was consulted before CBK gave directives to extend the free money transfer period.

“We do not comment on matters of the Central Bank, it has made a directive and we have a meeting with the governor tomorrow after the MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) meeting,” he said.

While extending cash transfer relief, the CBK quoted regulation (2) 43 of the National Payment System.

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