Talk around town is that the January of 2019 has proved to be the shortest January of all the Januaries ever experienced by an average Kenyan who ‘fully utilized’ his savings during the December holidays.
Indeed this month is moving at a breakneck speed. It is the only month of January that seems to have exact days like the other normal months. Messages of “Njaanuary” have been fewer and SMSs received with a similar message of “I need a favor” have been on the decline too.
Traditionally, during the month of January, businesses are often low because people have little cash on them. January is the month that children go to school to start a new year and a new term with thousands of parents struggling to have their children secure a position in form one.
Entertainment joints are always ‘dry’ during this season with only a few whose ‘pockets are blessed’ gaining access. But a week ago, things seem to have taken a different angle. There is a new sheriff in town. People are calling him the savior because he is enabling them to transact even if they do not have enough cash.
The New Sheriff in Town
Fuliza seems to be the new sheriff in town. It seems it is a product that should have come years back. It came too late but at the perfect time according to those who have already started using the facility.
Fuliza is an overdraft facility that allows M-Pesa customers to complete their transactions even when they have insufficient funds in their M-Pesa account. Basically, it is an overdraft. An overdraft will allow you to continue transacting even if your account has no funds or not enough to cover the withdrawal.
What Fuliza did is what banks should have done a long time ago. As Steve Biko Wafula, an economic analyst puts it, “with multiple transactions daily, my bank can’t give me a bloody overdraft of even 100 shillings but Safaricom can give me a facility based on my transactions of up to 50,000 shillings. No paperwork. No collateral. Just touch and go.”
The sentiments given by Biko resonates with the frustrations many bank account holders go through any time they need an overdraft from a commercial bank. Banks will always treat you with the first-degree suspicion every time you need an overdraft and will 99 percent always not give you the same.
Why Fuliza is Set To Propel Safaricom’s Share Price and Profits in 2019
The introduction of Fuliza has just put Safaricom on another level on the market. According to market analysts, there is no better time to buy shares from the telecommunication company than now. Market analysts project that Safaricom’s share price is set to spike this year is among the stocks to watch in 2019.
“The Safaricom share is going to clock 30 shillings in the second quarter and will maintain that trend the rest of the year. This is the boldest move Bob Collymore has implemented that will have banks running around like headless chicken trying to play catchup,” said Mr. Biko.
Safaricom Plc has remained the largest profitable company within and without Kenya. M-Pesa has been a key player in generating revenue for the company. Calls, data, and SMSs have also been among top revenue generators for the company.
According to market analysts, it is unimaginable to see Safaricom making losses any time soon. “With the kind of crazy profits the telecommunication company has been making, investors are always assured of the safety of their investment,” said an analyst.
One major reason that should push one into buying Safaricom’s shares this year, is the fact that the company has managed to bring the young generation and the Small Medium Business (SME) within its fold. The SME forms the largest part of Kenya’s economy. It employs 86 percent of the population and contributes about 45 percent to Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“I believe that Safaricom has listened to the cries of the hustlers, the SMEs, the entrepreneurs and decided to act and make credit access easier. They have studied banks and seen a loophole to seal the gap that has been necessitated by lack of access to loans,” added Mr. Biko.
With the introduction of Fuliza, most analysts believe that Safaricom is set to double or triple its profits for 2019 with partners to the product going to be among key winners by the end of the year.
“M-Pesa has officially become the first fully available digital bank in Africa, giving loans of up to 50,000 shillings without paperwork and collateral to the informal sector,” he added.
According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), mobile lending platforms are now a darling of the poor borrowers and they have become the driving roughshod on technology and if the tradition microfinance banks won’t change their market dynamics, they will go down. From the stats given by the CBK, fintech is actually driving local microfinance banks to an early grave with dwindling deposits, shrinking loan books and drying profits.
“Fuliza is one of the smartest products I have seen in a while. I think digital lending platforms will also take a whopping as they have never seen,” said one analyst who goes by a Twitter name Sura Mbaya.
Fuliza Exceeds Expectations
Fuliza already exceeded expectations on its eighth day according to Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore. On day eight, the overdraft facility had already received one million customers and issued 10 million US dollars as an overdraft.