Secret Fund Used to Establish Easypaisa gets Unveiled

easypaisaIt was recently unveiled that Telenor has secretly used British funds to establish it’s financial services solution called easypaisa.

This was accidently revealed by Andrew Mitchell, British Secretary of State for Department of International Development (DFID) while responding to media persons in Karachi; he had said, “UK supported the mobile banking with initial seed money”

Telenor used this fund to build the capacity of easypaisa and it came through State Bank of Pakistan. Here is what Telenor exactly replied to one of our question in an email:

UKAid’s contribution towards the branchless banking industry in Pakistan came through a disbursal to State Bank of Pakistan. In turn, Tameer Microfinance Bank received a grant for finanial inclusion from State Bank of Pakistan last year.

However, none of the involving parties, including Telenor, Tameer Bank or the British government ever announced the existence or the utilization of this fund.

And this is exactly why the British opposition was taken by a shock when the news of funds worth millions of pounds emerged after one year of it’s issuance.

Telenor on other hands, neither disclosed this information nor provided any subsidy/discount to end users for service usage against the funds it took from the British government.

Telenor in its communication with ProPakistani accepted that Rs. 82 million from British aid were used for branchless banking capacity building. In addition, Tameer Bank received Rs. 20 million for enhancement of treasury and payment gateway for home remittances.

It merits mentioning here that Telenor is making significant amount of revenues from it’s easypaisa services, while on other hands, despite of foreign aid, Easypaisa’s transactional charges are amongst the highest in all kind of money processing charges, locally and globally.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK