Nakirya Rita is one of the many mobile money agents spread around the city and even countrywide. The mobile money business has been a lifeline for many people who cannot find employment in this ever demanding economy. Our reporter had a small chat with her.
How did you start this business?
After school, I got employment in a mobile money shop, which was owned by a wealthy man. I then worked there for two years and a month before leaving. I saw the benefit of this type of business so I decided to start saving in order to open up my own. After accumulating money, which was almost enough to start the business, I got financial help from my uncle who topped up on what was missing and that is how I started my mobile money business.
How long have you been in the business?
So far, I have run this business for four years.
Tell us about the ups and downs involved in the business?
First of all, I earn a living through it which is a good thing and that’s why I work. That’s the only advantage besides interacting with people daily. On the down side, the major problem are the conmen. They have their ways of doing things and if you are not careful, you may end up losing too much money if not, all. So, I am always on the look out for these people.
Also, there are a lot of fake notes in circulation, if you are not careful to check you might end up with a lot of them in your drawer! The other issue is theft, thieves target us all the time. When I am going home after work, I have to be very careful because you never know who is following you. Many times, they have broken into my shop but now I don’t leave cash in the drawer.
What is your take on OTT [over the top tax]?
In the business I am not affected in any way. But personally, I am, because I need social media to interact with my friends. So nothing to do but I have to pay because I don’t want to be left out on the latest news and gossip.
What do you think about mobile money tax?
At the beginning, many customers were scared, fearing the rates, they used to complain alot. Some of them who did not understand what was going on would think we are cheating them, so we had to labour and explain but it was not easy. Many of them had stopped using the service but thank God when the rate was reduced to 0.5% at least now they respond in big numbers.
What do you think about the new easy load method of loading airtime?
Easy is better. The airtime vouchers were everywhere even in any shop, but with easy load, customers have to come to us mobile money people only, so it is good. And the commissions we get from these transactions are better than the ones we got from vouchers because from shs 10,000= we would get shs 500= before it was reduced to shs 400=.
Are you affected by services like momopay, which the customers use directly?
Not really because many customers don’t know how to use them.
Any other issue of interest you would like the public to know?
Mobile money business is profitable. You see my ka small business here but at the end of the day I walk home with a lot of money, “kwegamba” (thus) customers are many. I work from 8:00am to 9:00pm everyday, I don’t rest unless I want to. When I was working for someone, I didn’t think I would ever have my own business but now I can’t go to look for a job.
I want to grow my business so that I can also employ people and be a boss, open up branches and also try to invest in other business ventures because you can’t put all eggs in one basket.members, four of whom are brewers who work under her stewardship.
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