Telco company Safaricom PLC has today waived fees on the Mobile Money Transfer, MPESA for transactions below Ksh1,000 following the coronavirus pandemic that has threatened to bring the planet down to its knees for the very first time in decades. Safaricom stated that the meeting between the company and key industry players that was hosted by the Central Bank of Kenya to deliberate on the Covid-19 situation was successful.
President Uhuru Kenyatta had issued a directive to the company to explore ways of deepening mobile money usage to reduce the risk of infection through the handling of physical money. Safaricom said the President directed the company to reduce the cost of using mobile money during the period. President Uhuru Kenyatta made the plea on Sunday when he appeared for the first media conference since the virus was confirmed in the country. He asked the banks and other mobile money providers to reduce the transaction costs and facilitate easy use cashless modes of payment as part of the virus containment efforts listed on his response measures.
Safaricom’s CEO Michael Joseph, in a statement, announced that all person-to-person transactions below KSh1,000 which used to cost Sh11 to send and Sh28 to withdraw shall be free for the next 90 days effective from Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Michael Joseph also announced that the Central Bank of Kenya has approved the increase of daily M-PESA transaction limits from the current KSh70,000 to KSh150,000, a move that is aimed at supporting the micro-businesses in the country. Kenyans will also be able to transact up to Ksh300,000 up from the current limit of Ksh140,000 and hold up to Ksh300,000 in their M-PESA wallets.
Michael Joseph further noted that Safaricom was also working with the government to provide a call centre and integrate a toll-free line (719) which has been set up by the National Emergency Response Committee on Coronavirus to support Kenyans in understanding how to prevent and manage suspected cases.
Globally, a total of 156,465 infections and 5,838 deaths have been reported since the virus outbreak started in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
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