Kenyans to use new smart card to pay for State services and get cash

Company to work with a number of commercial banks in serving citizens.

Wednesday August 26 2015

Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner General John Njiraini (left) and Mr Daniel Monehim, the MasterCard president, sub-Sahara Africa division display the Huduma Card after its launch at Harambee House, Nairobi on August 26, 2015. PHOTO | COURTESY

Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner General John Njiraini (left) and Mr Daniel Monehim, the MasterCard president, sub-Sahara Africa division display the Huduma Card after its launch at Harambee House, Nairobi on August 26, 2015. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By LILIAN OCHIENG
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MasterCard has won a government contract to rollout smart cards for use to pay for State services and also to disburse funds to wananchi.

MasterCard will work with Equity Bank, Commercial Bank of Africa, KCB Group and Diamond Trust Bank who will distribute the Huduma Card and ensure its uptake. The four lenders also bear the costs of the project. The card will also be available at all Huduma Centres countrywide.

The programme will integrate all services offered through the centres providing a cash payment option for government services. Citizens will, for instance, pay for their passports through the cards that are offered free of charge at 32 centres spread across 27 counties.

Ministry of Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru said the government will also disburse its social payments through the cards.

“Uwezo Fund beneficiaries, Youth and Women Funds disbursements, National Youth Service, Social welfare government cash transfers to families, government food subsidies, hunger safety net cash transfers and cash transfers to orphaned children will be disbursed through the cards,” said Ms Waiguru when she addressed the Media over the start of using this card. The Huduma Card will be launched later in the year.

NEW INNOVATION

This year, the government set aside Sh19 billion for social safety nets to cushion vulnerable members of our society, while allocating Sh25 billion to fund NYS, some of which could now find its way through the card.

MasterCard Division President of sub-Saharan Africa Daniel Monehin said with the new innovation, Kenya is way ahead of other countries globally in offering efficient services that are accountable on a secure platform.

“I am proud to be part of the organisation chosen to serve Kenya as the changes in the payment landscape take place. This is a big moment as every card holder will have a bank account,” said Mr Monehin.

MasteCard also won a similar project in Nigeria on the national electronic ID cards that will capture biodata about users.

The Huduma Card will see all government payment services done through a digital platform.

Kenyans using the card will automatically be enrolled in key government services such as the National Social Security Fund, National Hospital Insurance Fund. This will ensure universal coverage of all Kenyans especially those in marginalised areas.

The card will also be integrated with the Kenya Revenue Authority to enable easy issuance of PIN numbers and seamless tax payment.

Huduma Card complement’s government’s Huduma Centres, which were launched with the aim of cutting red tape experienced by citizens while accessing government services.