- 70% of employees working from home
- Telco to lose Ksh 5.5 billion on zero-rated transaction fees
The head of Kenya’s biggest telecoms firm Safaricom chief executive Peter Ndegwa says during his tenure, he will prioritise on customers and stay ahead of their needs.
Speaking during an interview Sunday on Citizen Television, Ndegwa shared his priorities for Safaricom and his plans to take the telco into the future.
“In the next three years, I see Safaricom establish its next phase of growth, M-pesa 2.2,” he said.
M-Pesa mobile money platform has more than 20 million active users in a population of 47 million.
In its half-year financial results in November 2019, revenue from M-Pesa rose 18.2% to 41.97 billion shillings and from mobile data, business rose 4% to 19.78 billion shillings.
According to Ndegwa, the telco will still be ‘the biggest company in Kenya and it is his aspiration that its success is ‘known beyond Kenya’. “Ensuring by going back to the telco’s DNA which is about improving the lives of Kenyan people. Putting the customer first,” he says.
“Customer focus will be a big thing for me, improving customer experience.”
Ndegwa said ‘I will be my own person” in building the legacy of his predecessors bringing change and innovation to the company.
The 51-year-old reiterated the telco’s commitment to solving the problems faced by their customers and this is part of his DNA., explaining that:
“They are known for technology and innovation…” with voice and Short Text Messages (SMS) at a plateau in terms of revenue, “There is an opportunity for data,” he said.
He also stressed the need to boost investment and efficiency in research and development as the telco eyes expansion in its digital and data offering.
“Customers are the same. It is about understanding their needs…We shall ensure data is more accessible, we shall democratize the use of data for customers. Ensure handsets improve user experience by being accessible.”
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SUPPORT MEASURES TO MITIGATE COVID-19 IMPACT
The CEO said for the next three months since mid-March, they are zero-rating all person to person M-PESA transactions below KSh 1000.
Additionally, they have waived all charges for payments made to all hospitals and dispensaries across Kenya, an offer that is valid for the next three months.
However, he said this will cost it Ksh 5.5 billion over the next three months.
“These measures will cost us five and a half billion shillings over the next three months. The key is to ensure we can support our customers to get through this crisis. When Kenya gets back on track, our business should get back on track”.
He also disclosed that it has partnered with the Government through the Ministry of Health by providing a Call Centre and integrating a toll-free line 719 which has been set up by the National Emergency Response Committee on Coronavirus to support Kenyans in understanding how to prevent and manage suspected cases.
All calls to 719 are free. Currently, they are receiving an average of 20,000 calls daily.
BONGA FOR GOOD INITIATIVE
Ndegwa also said through the Bonga For Good initiative, will see customers use Bonga Points to pay for essential goods and services.
Customers are able to redeem 1 Bonga Point for Ksh. 30 cents, a 50% increase from the previous Ksh. 20 cents per point, at over 140,000 Lipa na M-PESA merchants countrywide.
Merchants accepting Lipa Na Bonga will receive a cash equivalent of the points redeemed, making it a normal business transaction.
It has also zero-rated access to educational services for primary and secondary students studying from home.
This is through its partnership with Eneza Education, Longhorn Publishers and Viusasa to provide free access to educational content.