The parliament is now seeking to have the mobile money service provider M-Pesa, to be separated from its parent firm Safaricom.
The legislators argue that all the mobile money service providers including Airtel Money and T-Kash should be treated as banking services thus they should be licensed to operate as banks.
Narok Senator, Ledama Ole Kinais at the forefront in support of this move claiming that M-Pesa has promoted the use of stolen identity, where people use identity cards to register lines and partake in criminal activities rendering the original ID owner a culprit.
In the meantime, regulators in the mobile and financial sector are in full disagreement with the proposal arguing that serious thoughts have to be considered before making a rash decision.
The Central Bank of Kenya governor, Dr. Patrick Njoroge, the principal secretary ICT, Jerome Ochieng’ and the director general of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) have unanimously opposed the proposal.
“A lot of investigations need to go into this before we make any decision to de-link. Our opinion is that this needs to be thought through properly and see the pros and cons of either de-linking them or making them stay together, “says ICT PS.
Mr. Ochieng even went further and asked the MPs, if splitting M-Pesa from Safaricom, will we be encouraging innovation or stifling it?
On the other hand, the director general CA, Dr. Njoroge argued that even though the telcos and the mobile money providers are not linked in terms of services, they are revenue sources of the Telcos and thus separating them would bring shocks.
“M-Pesa or any other money in the mobile wallet does not sit in the balance sheet of the telcos. It is a separate trust that holds the money that is secure in a commercial bank. If the telco goes under or faces whatever risks, it is not a significant risk in terms of financial sector operations. But there will be shocks, we can’t always eliminate these risks just like a bank going under.” Dr.Njoroge argued.