Following the enactment of the National Payment Systems (NPS) Act, 2020, MTN Uganda’s telco and fintech business was separated leading to the creation and licensing of MTN Mobile Money Uganda Limited in 2021. We caught up with the newly appointed Managing Director of MTN Mobile Money Uganda Limited, Mr Richard Yego, for his initial interview with the media since his appointment, during which he discussed the company’s focus for the year and shared insights on the mobile money industry.
Congratulations upon the appointment to Managing Director, MTN Mobile Money Uganda. How would you describe your first few months at the job?
It has been an interesting 2 months for me. With the support of the team at MTN, I familiarized myself with the new role; sitting at the helm of a very economically significant company. During this period, we have been focused on the completion of the separation of the Telco and Finco entities which included building a team of personnel with the right skill-set, across the various departments whose collective strengths and efforts will steer the company in the right direction.
It is close to a year since the mobile money business was separated from the telco core business, how has the adjustment been for MoMo?
The separation of Telco and Fintech businesses took place in May last year with the guidance of Bank of Uganda (BOU) which culminated into the creation and licensing of MTN Mobile Money Uganda Limited. At MTN, we welcomed this move because we believe in the power of regulation in creating a conducive business environment for not only us the operators, but also our customers. Following implementation of the law about 10 months back, we are now being directly regulated by BOU which has greatly improved the rate at which we innovate. Owing to direct engagement with BOU for approvals of product and services, we are now able to achieve faster speed to market of new services, to the benefit of our customers.
Following the enactment of the National Payment Systems (NPS) Act, we have seen a proliferation in the number of fintechs licensed to undertake mobile money business, are you concerned this will impact MTN MoMo?
The enactment of the National Payment Systems (NPS) Act, 2020 and the implementation of the accompanying NPS Regulations, 2021 therein have enabled the entry of new market players in the Fintech industry. This brings competition in the Financial Services space that spurs innovation and improvement of quality of services in the sector which is a welcome move. As MTN, we remain focused on consolidating our market leadership by leveraging our value proposition to our customers and stakeholders through ensuring that we deliver more value and quality because at the heart of our ambition is to lead the drive for digital and financial inclusion in Africa.
After nearly two years of lockdown, how is mobile money fairing today in comparison to 2020 and 2021?
With the full reopening of the economy earlier this year, a sizeable part of the population has returned to work, and we have seen an increase in daily transactions. The results for the first quarter will be shared by the end of this month to give a full picture. We are optimistic about the future and remain focused to delivering relevant services and shared value to all our esteemed customers.
As the new MD, what are your investment plans, focus or Strategy for MTN MoMo this year?
Our objective is to leave no one behind in our quest to promote financial inclusion in Uganda and achieve a key pillar in our ambition 2025 strategy rooted on sharing economic value with our customers.
Our major area of investment for this year is hinged on enriching our MoMo ecosystem and platform capabilities. We are focused on scaling the adoption of our Banktech products like Loans & Savings, Payments, and e-Commerce.
We remain determined to attain a cashless economy, something that has been accelerated by covid and therefore we will continue to entrench MoMo pay across the country through strategic partnership engagements.
In your opinion, what do you think will drive mobile money growth this year?
I believe mobile money will grow mainly on the account of the full reopening of the economy. We anticipate an increase in mobile money activity owing to the fact that businesses are all fully reopened meaning more jobs are going to be created thus attracting income, the night life is back in action, travelling across or in and out of the country is unlimited. We believe this will greatly impact on the volume and value of income transacted via the service. We expect increased activity across all the MTN MoMo products.
Mobile money fraud remains a concern in the ecosystem. Are there any plans to tame this?
In a bid to curb mobile money fraud, we have embarked on sensitization initiatives in the market. Through our newly formed National Payment Systems (NPS) Providers Association, we are going to launch a major sustained customer sensitization campaign at an industry level later this month. This initiative is aimed at driving customer awareness of the importance of protecting their Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and One Time Passwords (OTPs). We believe this consistent awareness campaign will empower customers with information to safeguard their accounts. We do hereby assure the public that the MTN MoMo platform is safe and secure. We also urge our customers to always keep their PINs and OTPs secret and not share them with anyone.
What is the future outlook of MTN MoMo?
Looking into the future, MTN MoMo should be a way of life. We want the MTN MoMo wallet to be part of everyone’s day-to-day life. The goal is to enable our customers to pay for all goods and services using MTN MoMo. We are positioning MTN MoMo as a financial solution aimed at driving digital and financial inclusion and boosting economic growth in the country as highlighted in our ambition 2025 strategy.