The Mobile Money Transfer Agents Association of Zimbabwe (MMTAAZ) has issued a press statement in response to a requirement from Econet that EcoCash agents should sign up 5 new customers daily, as per contract agreement. Econet is said to have reminded EcoCash agents about this requirement via sms.
The alleged SMS reminder from Econet read:
“Please be advised that all agents are required to register at least 5 customers on Ecocash daily as per the agency contract”- Ecocash Message
MMTAAZ has responded to this requirement from Econet labelling it “ill advised” because the mobile money market is now saturated for EcoCash and even registering one new customer per day “is still pushing it too far”.
MMTAAZ also said in it’s statement that there is no “real incentive” for agents to register new customers. They say the lack of incentive shows that EcoCash is taking “agents for granted”.
Here’s the full statement from MMTAAZ:
In light of an sms broadcast being sent to Ecocash agents by Econet, in which agents are informed of a requirement that each agent should register at least 5 new customers per day, the Mobile Money Transfer Agents Association of Zimbabwe (MMTAAZ) would like to inform its members and all concerned agents that the requirement is ill advised. Mobile money business has become highly saturated for the said provider such that it is very difficult to create new customers; even registering one per day is still pushing it too far considering there are more than 8 000 agents countrywide. Furthermore, there is no real incentive for the agents for registration of the said customers, a development which shows that these mobile money operators are taking agents for granted.
As MMTAAZ we believe such an issue should have considerably be encouraged and stimulated by a financial benefit, such that those who would want to pursue the financial benefit for new customer registrations will do so willy-nilly.
We strongly encourage mobile money operators to revise their contracts as per the RBZ directive not to use exclusive contracts. This is because the section 3.4 on the agent contract they are referring to in the sms broadcast is based on the exclusive basis contract they made agents sign from way back.
Apparently Econet has moved away from the original arrangement of paying $1 to agents for each new customer. Instead, Econet will pay an agent $1 after a new customer signed by that particular agent cashes-in at least $10.
I spoke to MMTAAZ Coordinator Francis Chinjekure and he rightly said there is no guarantee that the new customers will use the service after signing up hence the incentive was not appealing. However, on Econet’s part, they are obviously keen to keep to the cost of acquiring a new customer low and it makes a bit of sense to reward the agents after the customer spends.
We are not sure what section 3.4 of the EcoCash agent contract states. That information is no longer available on the Econet website. We also tried to get a comment from Econet but they did not get back to us in the time they said they would. Our phone calls were not answered after that.
Questions will also be raised over the credibility of MMTAAZ which only has 220 members out of 8000 mobile money agents in Zimbabwe. Chinjekure admitted that membership has been slow but they will be moving to establish provincial structures in a bid to increase membership.