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Daily Nation : February 6th 2014
DAILY NATION Thursday February 6, 2014 33 BUSINESS CASH TRANSFER | There is need for inter-operation of the various platforms, says bank governor CBK grapples with ensuring mobile firms share platforms Regulator says though it can opt for coercion to see this enforced, the best way is to let rivals engage in dialogue to open up networks BY CHARLES WOKABI email@example.com mobile operators to open up their cash transfer platforms to one another. Central Bank of Kenya gover- T nor Njuguna Ndung’u said while there is a general agreement that the systems need to be made interoperable, questions abound on how to go about ensuring this is achieved soon to realise the full benefits of the services. He spoke at the launch of the 2nd leaders roundtable meeting for the African mobile financial services policy initiative. Simply impose rules While the bank, as a regulator, can simply impose rules forcing mobile operators to open their systems to a level that users can send and receive money without network limitations, the governor said, creating a platform for dialogue among the parties has been seen as a more liberal approach. “One of the challenges we have is the limited extent to which the systems and devices can exchange and interpret shared data. The dilemma for policy makers is whether to impose rules on markets participants that lead to greater connection he government is grappling with modalities that it can apply to force OTHER VOICES What the bankers said in order to preserve Kenya’s position as a global leader in mobile money innovations. “The mobile money operators Kenya Bankers Association chairman Habil Olaka called for stiffer regulation of the mobile money platforms to create confidence among the millions of Kenyans who rely on them to conduct financial transactions. among scheme providers or not to interfere, and let innovation thrive,” said Mr Ndung’u. With penetration already achieved in Kenya, mobile money services remain largely limited due to the difficulties imposed by lack of interoperability of the systems. CBK now wants local operators to give the agenda full attention must open their platforms to one another, both in the country and regionally, to such a level that a person can send or receive money across any network in real time. At supermarkets, you can pay using any mobile money platform, debit or credit card. This is how interoperable the mobile money systems need to become,” said Mr Ndung’u. He, however, said some mobile operators have perceived interoperability as a way through which they will gain more market share without necessarily investing resources in the service. “There has been a perception that interoperability should serve to enlarge some players’ market share but this should change. We need to sit down together and see what investments each of the players need to make to the process,” said the governor. Interoperability dominates in new regulations governing mobile money sub-sector that are soon to be published. Airtel, yuMobile and Telkom Kenya have in the past decried the dominance of Safaricom in the mobile money market and accused it of refusing to open its M-Pesa system as well as sharing agents. At some point the three operators threatened to open up their systems to each other and share agents in a strategy to beat M-Pesa dominance. However, the idea was not implemented. Yesterday, Mr Ndung’u chal- lenged operators to become more competitive in order to address the question of dominance. “Market dominance, usually created by the first mover advantage, has been a challenge. The best check on market power may best come from new disruptive technologies as a result of entry by new competitors rather than regulation,” said the CBK boss. JOYCE KIMANI | NATION Central Bank of Kenya governor Njuguna Ndung’u (left) and his Tanzanian counterpart Benno Ndulu at the opening of the workshop in Naivasha yesterday. START OF A FRESH CHAPTER Microsoft reboots to mobile era with naming of a new chief executive Satya Nadella. P.37 BRIEFLY COOPERATION Meeting looks at staff and employers welfare A regional trade union has kicked off a two-day event to review staff and employers status in the regional integration process. The East African Trade Union Confederation is meeting in Bujumbura, to push their interests under the East African Common Market Protocol. Confederation chairman Francis Atwoli said the union has been pushing for inclusion of social agenda in the regional integration process. Under the social charter, partner states shall create an enabling environment to allow promotion and realisation of essential principles and rights at work. EDUCATION Varsity to use tech to catch student cheats CloudHop, a local IT firm and African Nazarene University will set up a software that will detect cheating among students. The deal is aimed at cutting the rising number of half-baked graduates who pay third parties to write their theses and academic reports that are delivered in soft copy. CloudHop chief executive Nadeem Noordin said the software named TurnItIn will help to maintain quality performance by tracking students who submit term papers and thesis for their masters’ projects. APPOINTMENT Minister names head of transport authority The Minister for Transport and Infrastructure has appointed Mr Francis Mooke Meja director general in-charge of the National Transport and Safety Authority. He has been working as the Registrar of Motor Vehicles and brings aboard a wealth of knowledge and expertise on road transport and transport logistics. He holds an MBA in strategic management from the University of Nairobi, BA Economics and Public Administration from the University of Marathwada in India. Kenya in doubt over who to pay refinery cash BY NATION CORRESPONDENT Parliament is questioning the authenticity of a firm to which the government is to pay Sh430 million as Essar opts out of managing the Kenya Refineries Limited. The parliamentary investment committee said negotiations to sell a 50 per cent stake in the refinery in 2009 never involved Essar India but Essar Mauritius, whose ownership cannot be established. Committee chairman Adan Keynan (right) while questioning John Mrutu, a former general manager at the refinery said Essar Mauritius has nothing to do with Essar India that is pushing for the Sh430 million opt out payment from the deal. “This could turn out to be a serious eco- nomic crime because Essar Mauritius has nothing to do with Essar India as we have been made to believe,” said Mr Keynan. Mr Mrutu said the government did a due diligence and established that the two firms were related before selling them a 50 per cent stake. Mr Mrutu was ordered to submit a detailed report before the committee in a week detailing ownership structure of Essar Mauritius. The revelations now bring to the fore the confusion surrounding real owners of half of Kenya Pipeline Refineries Limited that remains shut since last October.
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