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MPs want mobile lenders to be regulated and sharing of mobile money agents

At the centre of the inquiry is a directive to the two regulators to explore modalities of structuring and implementing sharing of mobile money agents.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 6 – The Central Bank of Kenya and the Communications Authority will be required to formulate and publish regulations on mobile money transaction fees for all mobile money operators within six months once the House adopts a report by the Committee on Communication, information, and Innovation.

If the Committee’s report is adopted by the house, mobile lending apps will be regulated by CBK and CA.

“The Central Bank of Kenya and the Communication Authority audit all unregulated money lending fintech firms which leverage on mobile platforms and subject them to the applicable money lending regulations within six months,” read the report into the legislative and regulatory gaps affecting competition in the telecommunications sector.

There are about 45 mobile digital lenders in the country operating in a regulatory lacuna.

The committee has been looking into the legislative and regulatory gaps affecting competition in the telecommunication sub-sector.

At the centre of the inquiry is a directive to the two regulators to explore modalities of structuring and implementing sharing of mobile money agents.

The report comes months after telco players appeared before the committee to discuss a document commissioned by CA that had declared Safaricom a dominant player.

In the far-reaching recommendations the Committee chaired by William Kisang wants CA to be compelled to submit bi-annual reports to the House on whether a dominant player exists in the market after it has ascertained the level of competition among telecommunication service providers.

The House team also proposes an amendment to the KICA Act to provide for a clear definition of market share with reference to gross revenues as relates to the declaration of a dominant telecommunications service provider as well as compliance to other regulatory measures.

“The Central Bank of Kenya and the Communication Authority conduct an audit of the levels of compliance with Anti-Money laundering and Know-Your-Customer obligations by mobile network operatos engaged in mobile money services within six months,” said the committee.

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The team says the Ministry for Information and Communication Technology should publish regulations on fair competition, equality of treatment, tariffs and interconnection.

The report also recommends that all telecommunication providers will share infrastructure built using the Universal Service Fund.

The Committee said that this will be implemented through the enactment of a Critical Information Infrastructure legislation to provide an appropriate framework for the protection of key information infrastructure.

The effect of the legislation will also include aligning the building code with regard to access for installation of fibre and permitting access to buildings by all ICT service providers.

The Committee has further recommended CA to use Universal Service Funds to build new base Transceiver Stations accessible to all network operators in the underserved counties of Isiolo, Garissa, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Turkana and Wajir.

It also wants the CA to review the current licensing regime of broadband services within six months of the adoption of the report and submit a report to the National Assembly on the measures taken to ensure equity in the issuance of licences.

The CA will have the sole mandate to determine competition matters arising in the sub-sector.

The report, which was tabled in the national assembly on Tuesday, proposed that the amendment to the KICA Act must be passed with six months of the report being adopted by the House.

 

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