Ipelegeng workers go digital

Kabelo Dipholo
DONE DEAL: Gwere and Pule signing the contract

Stanbic Bank Botswana sign cellphone banking contract with F/town Council.

In a bid to bring the digital revolution closer to the people, Francistown Council and Stanbic Bank have signed a two-year contract that will benefit the city’s 2,337 Ipelegeng workers through the utilisation of technology.

Established in 2008, the Ipelegeng scheme serves as a poverty alleviation instrument in Botswana’s urban and rural areas.

Stanbic Bank Botswana, through their platform, Unayo, will now give this unbanked sector an opportunity to access their finances through their cellphones.

Speaking at the contract signing at Thapama last Thursday, Stanbic Bank Botswana’s Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Christopher Gwere, stressed the importance of such a facility was not lost on the bank.

“We will provide facilities for the payment of these wages at all our ATMs and participating Unayo Merchants (street vendors and general dealer merchants) through our network across the 25 Francistown wards. We will look to create a shared value at every turn, and strive to ensure inclusive, accessible and meaningful financial services support,” he said.

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To this end, Gwere said the innovative platform of Unayo, which was launched last year, and other digital solutions, will be of great help.

“Unayo is designed to connect businesses and people with mutual financial interests and connects communities and businesses to help them grow. The solution is completely digital and accessed via mobile devices, including those that do not currently have bank accounts,” revealed Gwere.

Unayo Manager, Seeletso Moepeng, said the good thing about the service is that it is not limited to smart phones but rather accessible to all devices.

“Advantages of Unayo include that it allows for bulk disbursements, which will be of benefit to FCC,” he added.

In his remarks, Town Clerk, Lopang Pule, said the partnership was indicative of council’s continued efforts to align itself with key national strategies, such as Vision 2036, the President’s Reset Agenda and the related Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development’s (MLRGD’s) Strategy and Transformation Plan ‘2021-2025’.

He noted digital transformation, inclusivity, improved efficiencies and service delivery are the core elements of these policies driving the concerted push to transform Botswana’s economy to ‘high income’ status.

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“Now, the 2,337 Ipelegeng workers will be the latest stakeholders to enjoy improved service delivery through the utilisation of technology,” said Pule.

The TC revealed that prior to the partnership with Stanbic, Ipelegeng workers received their wages through BotswanaPost on set dates, which caused a lot of congestion at payment points.

“This new service will provide recipients with the flexibility to collect and or save their wages as befits their convenience and needs,” he said, adding it also allows for faster processing of Ipelegeng wages and eliminates the need for resolving issues that arose when beneficiaries failed to collect their monies during the set dates.

“It also saves us the significant number of work days missed by Ipelegeng workers on the days they had to queue for their wages under the old system,” said Pule.

The Town Clerk concluded by urging the two parties to ensure they stand by their promises to deliver on the contract and on their commitment to improve the lives of all in Botswana.

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