Zambia’s electronic money transfer service Swiftcash is losing ZMK 18 million (approximately US$ 2,2 million) annually due to competition from MTN and Airtel Zambia’s mobile money services, according to a company official.
The Swiftcash service is run by the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (Zampost), a Zambian government owned company that provides electronic money transfer service across the Southern African country, in addition to postal services.
Confirming the annual loss Zampost postmaster general McPherson Chanda said mobile operators MTN and Airtel have effectively ended Swiftcash’s decade-long monopoly.
Chanda also said Swiftcash has experienced a reduction in market share due to competition from mobile phone operators who also provide mobile money services.
Chanda has also blamed the declining company revenue on South African owned retail chain stores, including Shoprite, that have also been granted electronic mobile money transfer licences by the Bank of Zambia.
There are always long queues of people send and receiving money through Shoprite, a development Chanda said was worrying because Zampost’s revenue was being chewed by ZMK 1.5 million every month.
“Swiftcash is still Zambia’s largest money transfer service despite the competition. But the reduction is monthly revenue is going to result into salary arrears, unpaid retirees and litigations,” Chanda said.
A number of electronic mobile money transfer services, such as Zoona, have entered Zambia’s market and increased competition within the mobile money services space.
Chanda said that Zampost will have to be innovative for it to survive the competition. In a bid to prevent closure the company has initiated forced leave for some employees, while others have accepted voluntary separation (retirement) deals.
Two months ago, Chanda told workers that the allowances would be cut and that his salary would be suspended to save the company from collapsing.
However, opposition political parties claim poor management is behind Zampost’s loss of revenue.