The giant telecoms company, Safaricom is embroiled in a fresh row with Mpesa agents over what the latter term as newly introduced punitive terms of trade by the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Ndegwa.
So far, in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret, Mpesa dealers and small time agents have had their operating lines suspended or cancelled indefinitely including withholding of the investment capital commonly known as electronic float for up to six months.
Some are now considering to seek legal redress.
“Our lines have been suspended and our investment capital withheld. What makes it worse is that we are yet to be paid our monthly commissions. It is very unfortunate at a time the economy is riling from the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.” One of the operators told The Informer.
The operators are blaming Safaricom management for limiting their operating hours to send money up to 9PM.
“At a time the world and the government is advising on cashless transactions to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic that has ravaged lives and destroyed livelihoods, limiting us not to send money beyond nine o’clock in the night rolls back the gains and efforts to flatten the curve. We should be allowed to operate 24 hours. In case of emergencies like hospital, we cannot even load money in our own phones or risk having our lines cancelled and our commission suspended for up to six months.” Another operator who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals by the telecoms firm lamented.
They claim the new raft of regulations have been imposed on them without consultation or amending the contractual terms of the Mpesa agreement.
The highly suppressed silent friction risk sabotaging the rather budding electronic cash transfers and potentially render hundreds of thousands jobless.
The telco company is not new to controversies with the agents.
In 2017, M-Pesa agents moved to court seeking reinstatement of their contracts with Safaricom. .
The eight firms, which collectively operated more than 100 M-Pesa tills, accused the service provider for issuing them with termination notices and declining to engage them with the aim of reversing the telco’s move.
Walts Ventures, Connect Hub Enterprises, Maxmillian Agency, Midax Petroleum, Lemiz Inter Traders, Kaiwan Enterprises, Real Technologies and Da Carlsam Limited claimed that their contracts with Safaricom have all been terminated unfairly.