How Government can motivate Kenyans to use Digital Cashless Payment Method
I am writing this article after a lot of thinking about our financial future in Kenya. This intensive thinking has been invoked by the recent revelation by Mike Sonko, the Governor of Nairobi, that after they discovered some unbanked cash in the finance offices and gave stern warning to the officers, the daily county revenues have now doubled if not tripled.
It has also come to my attention that even the City County Parking attendants are now insisting on us paying all fees through the digital platform. This is good news to all of us! Yes, very great news indeed. At least revenue loss will be mitigated.
Revenue collection through our digital platforms like Mpesa, Airtel Money, Equitel, Bank POS et al is the way to go. This is the way to go for all business entities, institutions and government.
Very good ideas about how to effect the above payment methods in the past have been tried in the market but they have failed miserably due to failure to involve and motivate the critical players.
I will give an example
Some few years ago there was this frenzy in the transport industry where all passengers were required to pay their fares using cards like the 1963 card. This idea was very noble and if it could have worked, the matatu owners could be smiling all the way to the bank, the government could be collecting billions of shillings in taxes and the financial institutions could be raking in good income.
But the above revolutionary phenomenon encountered a still birth because the passengers, conductors and drivers were not involved in this mouth watering deal. There was no motivation especially on the part of the passenger to adopt the 1963 card. The conductors and the drivers could have resisted a little bit but if the passenger fully embraced that idea then the whole deal would have been as good as sealed even with resistance from the matatu crew.
Now, how would these passengers be motivated or enticed to embrace such a card? It is quite simple! Give reward points for each amount the passenger pays as fare and make these points be redeemable for essential and important services like paying for NHIF rates, renewal of government services, paying Kenya Power bills or paying County rates like business permits, parking, licenses etc. For example, for every Ksh. 100 spent on fare, the passenger gets 10 points just like the bonga points reward from Safaricom, and during redemption 1 point is equated to Ksh. 2. This means that if a commuter from Umoja to the City center pays Ksh 160 every day as fare, then at the end of the year he/she will have 4160 points worth Ksh. 8320. This is good money that can be used to pay for many essential County and National Government services.
This payment method should be spearheaded by the both governments and also financial institutions because they will be the biggest beneficiaries. Not even the Matatu saccos or matatu owners.
By giving such a motivation, the commuters will act as the perfect implementers and enforcers of the payment method.
Now going back to the original point on paying of parking fees, land rates, hawkers rates, business permits, licenses, fines and other fees charged by both governments, the above phenomenon of the 1963 card can be replicated here.
This is not to say that it is only the 1963 card that can be used. Right now in Kenya we have very innovative technology especially from the financial sector where the use of the Near Field Communication Technology is taking shape.
Various financial institutions and telecommunication companies can come with multipurpose cards which can be used for offline and online shopping and also payment for bills, rates, fines and other services.
In conclusion, I can say that a motivated customer is King. When one wants to achieve an end he/she will need to dangle a carrot at the end consumer so as to raise the demand from the consumer end as opposed to the cock and bull stories that they are used to get from the supply end.