By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Changing your local currency to dollars for the purpose of effecting transactions through the Zaad service is soon to be a thing of the past.
According to the Telesom Company deputy marketing and public relations Manager Mr Mohamed Abdiahad plans are at an advanced stage to include a feature for local currency in the Zaad Service menu that currently utilizes US dollars only in its mobile payment service.
Zaad Service is a mobile money transfer- MMT Technology provided by The Telesom Company to its subscribers in Somaliland.
“Zaad users will shortly start to transact in both dollars and local Somaliland currency” Mr Abdiahad told Somalilandsun during an interview in which he also refuted claims that the e-cash is responsible for raising the rate of US dollars exchange in the country.
During a briefing to parliament last week the Central bank Governor Mr Abdi Dirir Abdi told legislators that the ever raising rate of dollar exchange vis ‘a’ vis local currency was directly linked to the Zaad Service.
Governor Abdi told legislators that high level talks were on-going between the central bank and Telesom company in which discussions dwell on the how’s and whens the Zaad service provider should accept local currency in its transactions as opposed to its current dollars only policy.
While acknowledging that his company has held talks with the central bank, the marketing and public relations manager said plans at Telesom to incorporate the local currency into its Zaad service were started long time ago.
Said he, Telesom shall soon start accepting local currency in its e-cash service of Zaad but not as a result of any pressure from the central bank or any other quarters but from the strategic planning of the company”
The marketing boss who stressed on the impossibility of Zaad service being responsible for rising inflation said the only things that the e-cash service is responsible for is easing financial transactions for all its users both in the urban and rural areas of the country.
“ZAAD facilitates all kinds of money payment transactions, including transfer, purchases, fee payment, salary/wages payment and cash storage in addition to enabling Telesom subscribers to send money to their friends and relatives” says Mr Mohamed Abdiahad
In reference to insecurity of deposit fears raised by the Central bank governor the Telesom Company says that ZAAD is highly secure having different security layers. Users can access their accounts with security pin number and they can send money to anywhere, anytime, People can pay their bills or buy things from shops and other business outlets.
The Telesom Company ZAAD Service which is being utilized by over 75% of the communication company’s cell phone subscribers is a modern mobile payment service that utilizes a cell phone.
Early 2009 Telesom succeeded to be the 5th Telecommunication Company in the world that provides MMT (mobile money transfer) Technology to its customers.
In relation to the inability of the central bank to facilitate the opening of Commercial banks in the country long after relevant laws were enacted by parliament the marketing executive says the public banker lacks strategies and not skills.
During his briefing to parliament Governor Abdi told legislators that Commercial banks are yet to be institutionalized by the central bank due to lack of skilled personal thus on-going talks with the World Bank for support.
Urging the Central bank to put internal development strategies in place Mr Abdiahad said that of import should be broad based consultations with relevant stakeholders as well as public debates through electronic and print media.
A Somalilandsun visit to Salaam Financial Services for comment on the commercial banks issue ended in nought after the comapny’s Managing Director Mr Omar Mohamed refused to answer our questions.
The refusal is as a result of a standing order by the central bank which prohibits Salaam financial Services from any public activities including advertisements or engagements with the media.
While we are not legal experts this arrangement is ludicrous in view of the fact the Salaam Financial services continues to serve its customers without any legal let or hindrances.
The ban on Salaam advertisements and media engagements was made by the central bank when it stormed the commercial bankers’ premises but failed to effect closure a few months back.
The ban by the central bank which is yet to give plausible reasons since commercial banking laws are in places it in untenable situation since Salaam continues to operate and service its ever increasing clientele.
While the salaam financial services goes on it is also not clear what happened to the numerous foreign commercial banks that had applied for license immediately the banking laws were ratified.
While briefing the press in April 2012 the central bank governor Mr Abdi Dirir Abdi informed, quote- “The foreign banks that have shown an interest include Yemeni state-owned bank CAC, Djibouti-based Salaam African Bank, and Banque de Depot de Credit Djibouti, a subsidiary of Switzerland-headquartered Swiss Financial Investments”