MPs have ignored a bill that seeks to split Safaricom from M-Pesa.
There was a plan to split telecommunication companies from mobile money transfer and lending units. The concern was that companies like Safaricom have become too big through their other sources of revenues such as voice, mobile data and mobile money. If you know the parliamentary process, MPs have to be interested enough to actually debate the bills presented and in this case only two out of 349 legislators were interested in debating.
The bill was first sponsored by Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo and his Nyando counterpart Jared Okello who contributed to the second reading of the bill. Fortunately or unfortunately, eight MPs joined in the debate but only to clarify that they were not interested in contributing to the proposed law.
No further debate.
Although Mr Odhiambo is the one who proposed the bill he was not present in the House which led to the Deputy Speaker ruling that there would be no further debate about the bill.
Deputy Speaker, Moses Cheboi said:
“I can see no other interest. This means that the mover be called to reply,”
“I direct that this matter only comes up for Mr Odhiambo to reply on this Bill. There will be no further debate,” he ruled.
If the bill is approved it will proceed to the third reading then thereafter it will either be accepted or rejected. If the proposed bill is passed it means that within 6 months mobile phone companies will be required to form separate entities to manage any other business they engage in outside telecommunications services.
The idea is that the mobile money services will be licensed as banks while the other business will offer voice, data and SMS services. As it is now Safaricom controls 65% market share in voice while its mobile money business has no competition. Previously, parliament has attempted to split Safaricom from M-Pesa but they clearly did not succeed.