The Kenyan government is working to cut tariffs on M-Pesa as citizens become more dependent on mobile money platforms, a move that could dent Safaricom revenues.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani told the Kenyan senate there is a growing need to make M-Pesa affordable, as mobile money becomes more entrenched in the lives of everyday people who depend on it to pay bills and receive salaries.
“Another source of concern with mobile money stems from the perception both by consumers and small businesses that the rents from digital technology are unfairly accruing to Safaricom Plc,” said Yatani in a presentation to the Senate detailing the operator’s dominance, reported Business Daily.
It was revealed last week in data from the Central Bank of Kenya, M-Pesa accounted for 99% of mobile money transaction value in Kenya which totalled KES2.206 trillion out of KES2.208 trillion worth of transactions in 2021.
M-Pesa’s main rivals Airtel Money and Telkom T-Kash saw their value shares drop 0.2% and 0.1% respectively. At the time of writing, Safaricom charged KES159 to transfer KES5,000, while rival Airtel demands SH75 for the same amount.
“This is in the area of unconscionable/excessive rates and Safaricom being a critical trading partner for SMEs and consumers… We will soon be presenting some proposed amendments to deal with this scenario,” added Yatani.
Safaricom has seen calls for its dominance to be cut down as rivals urge the government to intervene. The company is also mulling a move to spin off M-Pesa into its own subsidiary.