Kenya’s information minister hit back at proposed amendments to legislation which would see Safaricom forced to split its m-Pesa business from the company’s telecoms operation, Reuters reported.
Information, Communication and Technology minister Joe Mucheru said a move to “punish operators for innovation” would discourage investment into the country.
Mucheru said it was a decision for companies to make themselves if they wanted to spin off parts of their business and an intervention would “make Kenya a very unattractive destination for tech companies that want to come and innovate”.
Proposals for laws to force Safaricom to split its business, which dominates both Kenya’s mobile money market and its wireless industry, were put forward last month by Kenyan national assembly member Jakoyo Midiwo.
Midiwo’s proposal is set to be debated and voted on by parliament.
In a separate investigation into competition in the wireless market, the Communications Authority of Kenya is currently reviewing a draft report looking at the state of the industry. According to Reuters, this document also recommends Safaricom’s business should be broken up.
Safaricom is widely regarded as Kenya’s largest company. It holds a 69 per cent market share of the country’s mobile sector, according to the latest figures available from GSMA Intelligence. Rival Airtel holds a 17 per cent share, with Orange-owned Telkom Kenya on 14 per cent.
Figures from Kenya’s communications authority estimate m-Pesa’s mobile money market share at 66 per cent. Last year, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore (pictured, centre) said the company was looking to expand its money service through new partnerships.