In Nairobi, Mombasa and several parts of Kenya, cash is slowly becoming obsolete. Cashless services like Safaricom’s Lipa na M-PESA have overtaken the volume of transactions registered through debit and credit cards as well as other mobile money propositions.The Lipa Na M-PESA options lets users pay for nearly everything: from meals and utility bills such as water, rent and electricity to even bus fare. It takes away the hassle of having to go to banking locations far from home and connects people to the service through an already popular network.
Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich in a gazette notice dated December 23, 2014 told the public of a government digital payment platform that “accepts all available electronic payment platforms in Kenya including mobile telephone money payments services”. This has been realised in the introduction of e-Citizen. The e-Citizen portal is a more transparent, convenient & secure means to access the information and services of various governmental departments. The platform allows the integration of information and services from different governmental organizations in one place for the citizens. The portal is equipped with a PayBill Number 206206, which enables quick and transparent payment of funds.
One of the best things about the introduction of the PayBill option is the avoidance of long queues. Previously, one would have to wake up very early or even have to take the morning off, just to get to the respective government office and foot the bill. These long lines are a waste of time that people could have been using more productively which has a negative impact on the economy. Queueing for hours on end also made people unhappy which in turn reduced the efficiency of the transaction. The relationship between government offices and citizens seeking their services has long been sour, so the PayBill number’s efficiency will boost its quality. One can conveniently pay for upto 15 different services under different categories namely :- Businesses, Marriage, Driving, Lands, Immigration and Civil Registration Services swiftly and at their own discretion. Applicants need only send the payment via M-PESA instead of a series of forms and separate payments. In case of any problems with the service, there will be an immediate, automated status update via SMS just as is the case with other utility PayBill numbers.
Another benefit is full transparency. Dealing with inefficient bureaucracy is often an expensive business, where one is sometimes forced to pay a bribe just to get a service done. This inefficiency breeds corruption which costs the economy billions in the long term. With the e-Citizen portal one is saved the agony of being sent from one office to another and having to grease the process at every stage. You simply pay the amount stated in your invoice and that’s that!
The cashless payment system will also cut administrative costs as it reduces the amount of human labor needed to physically manage people in lines. The Paybill option will save lots of time and money in the long run for both the citizen and the government and will curb the corruption and inefficiency experienced when dealing with Kenyan bureaucracy.