M-Pesa agents have condemned the opposition Nasa for calling on its supporters to boycott Safaricom’s products saying the move will result in the loss of many jobs.
Through their national chairman Alfred Nyangweso, the agents said that the call is tantamount to killing the economy of Kenya.
Mr Nyangweso said the money transfer service has employed over five million people countrywide and its failure will amount to massive unemployment in the country.
“M-Pesa as one of the services offered by Safaricom has grown to be one of the largest sources of self-employment in Kenya and asking people to boycott all Safaricom products will render many jobless,” said Mr Nyangweso.
Mr Nyangweso said the service provides a source of income and livelihood to citizens of all regions regardless of tribe or political affiliation and shops can be found in every town and village in the country.
He added that in the Nyanza region, it has employed over one million people, most of whom are youth.
“This means that it is not only Jubilee supporters who will be affected by snubbing Safaricom. Over one million people in the Nyanza region will lose their jobs, most of whom are youth,” he added.
Mr Nyangweso further said that the telecommunications company is owned by millions of Kenyans through shareholding and the profit it makes trickles down to them.
He added that in the first half of the year, the money transfer platform was able to make over Sh26 billion in profit and it is expected to make more than Sh53 billion by the end of the year.
He said that the coalition’s supporters will be blindly destroying themselves if they heed Nasa’s call.
“Safaricom is a company owned by many Kenyans and they will be blindly destroying their own investments if they follow through with the boycott,” he said.
Mr Nyangweso added that the move will also affect the newly-established online sales platform, Masoko, which is set to create more employment opportunities for the youth who are using the internet to market their products.
Masoko is modelled to ride on M-Pesa and will target the formal retail and informal online trading in Kenya.
It will start with 200 vendors and about 30,000 consumer goods ranging from electronics to food stuffs and will provide a platform for merchants to trade goods on social media sites.
“If the site continues to grow, then more vendors will be needed and thus more people will get jobs,” said Mr Nyangweso.
“M-Pesa and mobile data are becoming the engines of growth in the country,” Safaricom’s Chief Financial Officer Sateesh Kamath had said during the launch of Masoko.
Mr Ali Musa, the deputy chairman of the agents’ association who has over 500 M-Pesa outlets in Nyanza region, says he earns over Sh3 million in monthly profits and has employed many people through his business.
He urged Nasa to look for different ways to solve its political grievances rather than destroy the economy.
He also told the all Kenyans to ignore the boycott calls and urged agents embark on a promotional campaign to recover the losses they made during the election period.
“Now that the election is over, M-Pesa agents should start an aggressive campaign to recover lost revenue during the electioneering period,” he said.