National News

INVESTMENT, Makuei tips m-Gurush on task ahead

By Peter James Loruba

Pomp, glitz, glamour, red carpet reception defined the ultimate launch of m-GURUSH last Friday.

Guests were treated to cocktails of the finest wines, recipes and the elegance at Freedom Hall, all in one accord, to witness the grand launch of the first ever mobile money service in South Sudan.

Freedom Hall was packed to its full stretch as diplomats, top cooperate personalities, government officials converged to accord the event the weight it deserved.

Information and Communication Minister Michael Makuei Leuth gave a keynote speech.

In his speech, Minister Makuei congratulated Trinity Technologies-the brain behind the new service, which he said will ease financial transactions.

“It will provide better service to people who are badly in need, so many people have been moving all the way to come to Juba to receive their money but with m-GURUSH definitely the service will reach our people wherever they are and this is very important on the other hand, our people will be getting better,” Makuei said.

He said, the government will continue to license more companies to offer mobile money services in the interest of better service delivery to the people of South Sudan.

“It is all up to m-GURUSH to exert more efforts and capture the market before other players join,” he added.

Minister Makuei said, “the market is a free economy and there is no room for monopoly and anybody who fails checks out.”

m-GURUSH will work in partnership with Zain as the mobile operator in the country.

“Zain, you have a very week internet and if you have gone into partnership with m-GURUSH then you have to improve your internet because without that m-GURUS will not make it because this technology requires good and reliable internet.”

Adding, “Sometimes you go so far looking for network what about somebody who is waiting for money, which is said to be swift, if it is swift and I have not received it I will say my money has been eaten.”

Makuei appealed to m-Gurush to sensitize the public about m-GURUSH services.

He expressed optimism that by the end of the year, the fibre optic cable should be able to reach Juba, which will reduce the cost of communication.

He also tasked m-GURUS not to work only with Zain, but also all other network operators in South Sudan because of accessibility of some areas.

Juma Steven, Jubek State Information Minister represented Governor Augustino Jadala Wani.

He thanked m-GURUSH for the milestone but expressed fears about people’s money with the presence of the notorious gang called Toronto.

“I’m sure the benefit will be much. There is this fear for our mothers and daughters about a group of boys called Toronto who grab and run with people’s phones,” he said.

“We are supposed to hear from the management what measures should be taken when a phone is snatched whether it has to be reported to police or they go to the management of m-GURUSH?”  said Juma.

The Zain representative Wilson Lado spoke of massive benefits the public stands to reap from the partnership.

“We believe that we bring people together, connecting services and as such mobile money is one of the services and we as Zain want to assure that each and every person in the rural area can be able to send money,” he said.

“We have expansion plan so we shall be able to provide services to the people of South Sudan. We started by integrating the international traffic to the south Sudan international gateway as planned successfully and we are moving forward to restore more sites.”

He said communication is important and now mobile money is a tool they want use to deliver better services together with Trinity Technology.

Dr. David Nalo, the Chairperson Committee of Finance and Economic Planning in the Transitional National Assembly said m-Gurush will modernise the economy of South Sudan.

He asked the management to be steadfast in averting any case of money laundering through their system.

“I hope you will stop all those who want to launder money through m-GURUSH because for us as a government we would not want people who are laundering money in the region to temper with our m-GURUSH do all you can to ensure that we are free,” he said.

David believes m-GURUSH will be a success because people of this country are addicted to technology and most people have mobile phones.

“Being a person dealing with finance, I am now waiting for revenue that will join the non-oil revenue to be flowing to our country.”

Dr. Lado Wani Kenyi, Director General of the National Communications Authority said m-GURUSH should be able to tackle the challenges that people in the neighbouring East African countries have been facing from mobile money services.

“Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda are the pioneers of this system but they got the challenge that you in M-pesa cannot send money to Airtel and then that person only can cash it he cannot take it into his account and here this cannot be the case, it should be allowed across the platform,” he said.

All the money that will be in circulation and transaction in m-GURUSH will be banked at Equity bank.

Victor Omondi, a representative of Equity Bank said, “We are going to be holding the pool account which is a trust account, which means that we will be holding all the money that deposited in m-GURUSH in trust for the benefit of the customers of m-GURUSH and its agents.”

He explained that as people transfer money from one wallet to another, the money will still be sitting in the bank account up until it is written from an agent that is the only time the money will get out of the account.

“Therefore no one at m-GURUSH will have the authority to withdraw money that is being held in the trust account because the money belongs to the public,” he clarified,” Omondi said.

He denied claims that mobile money aims to replace banks. “It will help banks reach people in far places where setting up structures is rather expensive for the purpose of financial inclusivity all over the country.”

Richard Raja, the Director Trinity Technologies Limited said, there is no need to carry cash now that the country has embraced mobile money.

“Our mission is to transform South Sudan through technology. We expect to create thousands of jobs to the citizens of the country,” he said.

“We expect to roll out mobile services in South Sudan to create not less than 20,000-30,000 new jobs, it is going to stimulate innovation in the country” he said.


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