BY CEDRIC SWANKA
“There is a race, that must be ran…and victory to be won”, goes a song by popular South African gospel artist ÔÇô Sipho Makhabane.
While Makhabane might be talking about a spiritual race, there is another race on-going in the local money markets ÔÇô the payments for services by mobile phones by various players. This is the race that the state owned postal agency – BotswanaPost has officially entered as of last week.
Traditionally known for its unique service of delivery of letters, BotswanaPost now finds itself playing in other fields including the mobile phone payment market through the introduction of Poso Money.
Chief executive officer Cornelius Ramatlhakwane said “With Poso Money we are talking about an interoperable reliable service and the post office being the transaction and service updater of choice.”
“We want to ensure people get access to a wide range of financial solutions and also get access to a wide range of value added services. With Poso Money, we are talking about the post office not being a competitor but the post office working with everybody to facilitate services for everyone,” Ramatlhakwane said.
Ramatlhakwane continued to say “Send money, receive money, withdraw money and pay bills; for us we knew it is a common thing with all mobile money platforms. Poso Money is more than that, you can buy goods, prepaid your utilities e.g water, electricity, airtime. Postal box renewal and many more features coming soon.”
“We have realised that it is difficult for our customers to pay for their box. We have now put it on a platform that will make it easy for them and ensure the customer has got no excuse to not want to pay for their boxes,” continued Ramatlhakwane.
“Poso money can be accessed by any phone, any network and what it means is that as Botswana Post we believe that accessibility is key. Accessibility should be ease of doing business and is ease of doing anything.” Ramatlhakwane shared.
Deputy Permanent secretary for ICT under the Ministry of transport and communication Alicia Mokone said “For us this product is the embodiment of where this country is going. We walked the path with Botswana Post through its development period. This product is the first of its kind especially from a non-traditional player.”
“Botswana post has never been in this sector and Poso money; to Government as a shareholder sees it, as access provider that is very speaking to the urban Motswana as well as the underserved, under banked and unbanked member of our community,” Mokone said.
Mokone continued to highlight that “It allows for Batswana without smartphones to expedite transactions seamlessly and quickly. I need to emphasise not only to Botswana Post but to the industry as a whole to cooperate with regulatory bodies such as FIA, BOCRA, Bank of Botswana to ensure our products and services are compliant. Above board they should also be in line with anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing controls both locally and internationally.”
BotswanaPost board member Dr Tshiamo Motshegwa said “BotswanaPost through Poso Monei presents a vehicle through which our customers will transact. Transactions are the backdrop of economic activity, the backdrop of employment opportunities for our youth and economic growth we would be buying, receiving and sending money. Thus providing convenience, access and inclusion of all our people.”
I am encouraged together with the board that the post is slowly coming to realise and regain its lost value, relevance and essence towards community value,” Dr Motshegwa shared.
Dr Motshegwa further said “Our prayer as the board is that the Government as a shareholder will continue to promote and facilitate an environment for private-public partnerships through development and propagation of progressive an enabling legislative framework.”