Safaricom eyes parking billions in partnership with KAPS

Safaricom eyes parking billions in partnership with KAPS
Safaricom's Chief Financial Service Officer Sitoyo Lopokoiyit and KAPS C.E.O. Bonnyventure Saronge. PHOTO| COURTESY

In Summary

  • Safaricom eyes parking revenues in new deal with the Kenya Airports Parking Services Limited (KAPS), establishing its mobile-money solution Mpesa in the settlement of parking transactions.
  • The partnerships comes in barely a month into the self-termination of Jambo Pay as Nairobi County's parking solution provider, a move which has opened the door to rivals including KAPS who has already submitted their bid for the new tender.

Kenya’s largest telecommunications operator Safaricom has set its sights on parking revenues in a new partnership with the Kenya Airports Parking Services Limited (KAPS) that seeks to establish M-Pesa as a mode of payment for parking services.

Dubbed ‘Lipa na Mpesa 1 tym’, the collaboration will initially be targeted at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and a total of 30 malls before being rolled out onto other KAPS payment stations.

Commenting on the newly-formed partnership on Thursday, Safaricom’s Chief Financial Service Officer Sitoyo Lopokoiyit said the deal is coined on the need to create convenience and efficiency in service delivery and serves to increase the telco’s share of digital transactions in the country.

“We keep on asking ourselves, where does M-Pesa go next? Parking was an easy way and we have the same vision as KAPS to drive cashless payments. For us, it’s about a journey to driving more transactions digitally,” he said.

Meanwhile, KAPS sees opportunity to drive convenience into the settlement of parking fees by clients sighting hard-cash as a hindrance to efficiency in transactions.

“The cashless mode represented in our partnership with Safaricom is the beginning of getting better and convenient payment methods for our users. Many are times that we have seen motorists arrive at our parking areas with a smile, only for it to disappear on the way out,” KAPS Chief Executive Officer Bonyventure Saronge said.

The partnership comes barely a month into the exit of Jambo Pay, the Nairobi County parking solutions provider, who announced its intention of not wanting to renew its current license upon its expiry on the 7th of April 2019 sighting political interference and intimidation.

The decision has since opened the door to rival players including KAPS, which has already made its bid to become the new city ticket-master. The collaboration with Safaricom therefore backs the bid given M-Pesa’s common acceptance as a mode of payment to many in the country.

KAPS C.E.O Bonnyventure Saronge acknowledged the bidding for the new city tender but could not immediately substantiate whether it has partnered with Safaricom in the lucrative venture.

“We are still looking at the tender in-house, but we are yet to make a pronouncement on whether we’re going into the bid together,” he said.

The Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) represents a huge attraction for both mobile money and parking service providers given the sums of money involved. According to the Auditor General’s 2016/17 report, parking in Nairobi attracted revenues totaling Ksh.10.9 billion for the year with the average number of parked cars at 1.3 million.

Safaricom and KAPS are both active participants in the collection county parking revenues, where the latter has running tenders with the counties of Narok and Kilifi since 2014 while the telco has M-Pesa largely underpinned in most county parking systems.

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