The coming of Covid-19 has changed how people around the world relate to each other in various aspects of life such as businesses. The normalcy that people were used to is now disrupted and people have now been left to adapt and flow with the wave of the new normal. In Kenya, almost every sector has been affected. The unprecedented attack on our way of life is making us create a new norm.
Kenyans are being encouraged to work from their homes, observe the social distancing aspect, wear masks, wash their hands using water and soap, or hand sanitizers, and avoid crowded places. Businesses have been shut, people have lost their jobs, and students are no longer in schools.
Covid-19 has provided a major challenge to Kenyan small-medium enterprises (SMEs). The majority of them are struggling to remain afloat as the pandemic continues to bite. Prior to Covid-19, stats from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicated that at least 1,000 SMEs were shutting down daily. How many are shutting down with Covid-19 around?
The World Health Organization (WHO) called on people around the world to embrace the use of cashless transactions while buying goods and services, and avoid coming in contact with banknotes that presented a risk of spreading Covid-19.
Covid-19 viruses are able to survive on a surface such as banknotes for hours and even days and given that money is something that circulates more from one person to another than anything else, WHO thought that going cashless was the perfect solution to cut down on the massive spread.
In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenya encouraged Kenyans to embrace the use of mobile money services such as M-PESA and avoid coming in contact with banknotes as a way of staying safe and avoiding being infected by the virus.
Millions of Kenyans, having seen what the pandemic is doing to the rest of the world, seem to have realized the need and the urgency of embracing the use of cashless transactions such as the use of M-PESA.
M-PESA Zero Rating
In order to make sure that Kenyans remain safe while paying for goods and services, and avoid coming in contact with banknotes, Safaricom PLC zero-rated, that is, it removed all the transaction costs for sending cash in the range of 1,000 shillings and below. Kenyans have been sending cash 1,000 and below at no cost. M-PESA is now even more convenient given that you can now hold up to KES 300,000 in your wallet, giving Kenyans a wide range of options to save, take loans, and pay for various bills.
Through the M-PESA zero-rating initiative, Kenyans have been able to take care of their loved ones by sending them cash in bids without incurring any extra cost.
Kenyans with ailing family members have been able to purchase medicine through platforms such as MyDawa due to the zero-rated paybills for goods purchased and customers can redeem Bonga points to purchase products from their site.
SMEs without Paybill numbers have benefitted too. In fact, they seem to be benefitting the most. Customers are able to pay for whatever service or product directly to the SME’s personal line at no extra cost. At the end of it all, they are saving on time and enjoying the convenience that comes with mobile transactions.
Safaricom has also made it easy for Kenyans to pay for various goods and services by use of Bonga Points in the ongoing Lipa Na Bonga drive. This has helped Kenyans to cut down on the costs of their products and services. Coming at a time everyone is fighting the pandemic and trying as much as possible to save anything available, by cutting on the costs, Lipa Na Bonga is helping people save any extra cash.
How has M-PESA helped you during this pandemic?