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CORONAVIRUS: Safaricom drops charges for transactions below Sh1,000 to reduce physical contact

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – Safaricom has waived fees for M-Pesa transactions below Sh1,000 to deepen mobile money usage and reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Safaricom says the 90 day waiver which comes into effect starting tomorrow, follows a presidential directive to avoid the risk of transmission through physical handling of money.

At the same time, the Central Bank of Kenya has approved the increase of daily M-Pesa transactions limit form the current Sh70,000 to Sh150,000.

Kenyans will also be able to transact up to Sh300,000 up from their current limit of Sh140,000 and hold up to Sh300,000 in their M-Pesa wallets.

“Safaricom is also working with the Government by providing a Call Center and integrating a toll-free line 719 which has been set up by the National Emergency Response Committee on Coronavirus to support Kenyans in understanding how to prevent and manage suspected cases. We have also interconnected other networks to ensure that their subscribers can access the Call Centre. All calls to 719 are free,” Safaricom’s CEO Michael Joseph said in a statement.

On Sunday, President Kenyatta called for the use of cashless transactions and appealed to mobile operators and banks to reduce the cost of transactions to combat the deadly disease.

“This pandemic will test us, as it is testing all countries in every corner of the world, but I do not believe it will defeat us.  If we pull together, and everybody does their part, we shall overcome its worst impacts,” Kenyatta said Sunday.

The number of novel coronavirus cases globally stood at 168,250 with 6,501 deaths, across 142 countries and territories at 0900 GMT Monday, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official sources.

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