MTN Eswatini Mobile Money (MoMo)’s close to 700 000 customers can now access up to E200 from the MoMo Loan Lending Service.
MTN Eswatini in partnership with Letshego officially launched the product during a breakfast meeting held at the Royal Swazi Sun’s Libandla Room yesterday, customers will have quick loans payable over 30 days on their mobile phones, using their MoMo account, wherever they may be located.
The loans, however, start from a minimum of E50 going up to the E200 maximum amount.
MTN Acting CEO Sibusiso Nhleko said having successfully piloted Mobile Money lending for a couple of months last year, the company in partnership with Letshego were excited to finally launch the product.
He said the excitement in the market around this product was palpable having started at the rollout of the pilot stage in June.
“We are aware that many people wanted to try out how MTN MoMo lending works but could not because of the conditions that came with the pilot.
“As usual, a pilot has a limited number of participants because it is meant to be manageable learning space. While some of our customers were disappointed last year, they should be pleased that they now have an opportunity to use MTN MoMo lending,” he said.
The acting CEO stated that from the pilot, they saw a few trends including how small-scale trainers, for instance, used MoMo Loans to source or replenish their daily stock.
He said they could safely say that the MTN MoMo lending has, in a unique way, stimulated business activity for this category of traders.
“Additionally, on a non-commercial sphere, through this product, our valued customers have addressed some of their basic needs like buying electricity units, and paying different utilities through the MTN MoMo platform.
“This speaks of improvement of quality of life and an increase in choices for access to short-term finance,” he said.
He said they were looking forward to developing more products and services that would go beyond enhancing financial inclusion to improve the quality of life of the people of Eswatini.
He expressed gratitude to the regulators, the Central Bank of Eswatini and the Financial Service Regulatory Authority (FSRA) for their support received from the time MTN MoMo lending was conceptualised, through the pilot phase, which has led to the product launch.
“We are confident that our regulators will continue to guide and support our efforts to monitor and improve the product so that it grows in its calculated attempt to address the needs of our target market.
“We would also like to thank our partner, Letshego who have worked well with MTN Eswatini to provide hassle-free and instant short-term loans to Mobile Money customers who qualify based on their use of the platform and also government through different ministries who support the work we continue to do,” he said.
…Quick loans to address liquidity challenges
Centre for Financial Inclusion (CFI) CEO David Myeni believes the MTN MoMo Quick Loans product will help address some of the liquidity challenges in the country.
Myeni who was the keynote speaker during the launch of the product at the Royal Swazi Sun Libandla Room noted that the Eswatini FinScope Consumer Survey 2018 indicated that only 52 per cent of Emaswati were able to use financial services to meet expenses in each income cycle and that this product may enable mostly the un-banked population to stretch their limited income to smoothen consumption.
He explained that the Government of Eswatini attached a critical role to financial inclusion.
“The financial inclusion journey dates back to 2010 in which the Government of Eswatini through the Ministry of Finance established the Micro Finance Unit which is today referred to as the Centre for Financial Inclusion.
“Mobile operators were called on to develop transfer and payment services via the mobile phone and financial access points in the rural areas amongst others.
“I am happy that the MoMo Quick Loan product is now building upon the strong foundation that has been developed by MTN Eswatini through the Mobile Money product,” he said.
The CEO said the introduction of Mobile Money by MTN in 2011 started the journey of financially including the larger population and that today they attribute over 33 per cent of the financially included as a result of mobile financial services.
“Today the kingdom of Eswatini has close to 700 000 Mobile Money registered subscribers with over 430 000 active subscribers monthly. It is worth mentioning the positive impact to unemployment that the MTN Mobile Money service has made in our society with over E5million paid monthly in transaction commission to the agents that serve mobile money customers,” he said.
Myeni further revealed that the recent Eswatini State of Financial Inclusion Report 2019 released by the Centre of Financial Inclusion (CFI) indicated that currently 85 per cent of our adult population were financially included, which he said was a big milestone.
“However, the work does not end there. There are three dimensions to financial inclusion and these include access which speaks to availability and appropriateness, usage, which speaks to frequency of interaction with the financial services and quality, which talks to product fit and value addition.
He then congratulated the Board, the Management and the Staff of MTN Eswatini and Letshego Financial Services for their insight and collaboration to come up with another product that would enhance the range on the already existing products for the mobile money platform in the country.
“I am aware that this has not been an easy task, but you managed to pull it through.
I would acknowledge and express my appreciation to the financial regulators, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) and the Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE) for their unequivocal support to financial inclusion and innovation to improve the quality of financial services in the country.
“Their role is important because it guards the balance between business objectives to make money and consumer needs to have access to safe and affordable quality products,” he said.