Bagamoyo — A NEW legislation to govern money transfers through mobile phone companies is in the offing, according to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT).
A central bank's legal counsel, Mr George Sije, told reporters here on Tuesday that the envisaged legislation seeks to provide a legal framework for electronic money payments and transfer services, including those provided by mobile phone companies.
Mr Sije said a bill for the proposed new National Payment Systems Act was scheduled for first reading in the on-going parliamentary session. "We see the goodwill of the government on this and we hope the new law can be passed within this fiscal year," Mr Sije told reporters attending BoT seminar to enlighten members of the media on its activities.
Mobile money transactions have widened financial services in the country, reaching millions of people who had no access to traditional financial services by commercial banks and other financial institutions.
According to BoT data, there are about 25 million accounts for M-Pesa, Tigo Pesa, Airtel Money and Easy Pesa services of the four large telephone firms in the country - Vodacom Tanzania, Tigo, Airtel Tanzania and Zantel, respectively.
The bank describes some nine million people as active users of the accounts, with at least one transaction in a month. The four mobile phone companies use about 40,000 agents to deliver the financial services country-wide.
Findings by a Finscope Survey in the country in 2009 showed that only 12 per cent of the population had access to formal financial services by commercial banks and financial institutions.