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Experts express worry over unusual frequent delays in the Safaricom M-Pesa platform

Frequent Safaricom M-Pesa delays are unsual and worrying according to experts amid claims of integration with KRA.

Users of M-Pesa are still skeptical after many service outages that occurred in less than two weeks in January 2024. 

Although Safaricom apologized following the unfortunate events, many Kenyans were taken aback by the sad occurrences.

The majority of Kenyans stated that the government was attempting to incorporate the M-Pesa platform with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) tax system. 

A tech expert Kemibaro in an interview with a local outlet explained that this could be a clear indicator that Safaricom was trying to integrate a foreign system into the platform. 

“The problem seemed to be originating within the M-Pesa system alone. There have been speculations that Safaricom is trying to integrate something into the M-Pesa system in a way that is practical… and that may be the reason for the delays. 

“M-Pesa system probably was not designed to accommodate this new integration. That is what tech experts are suggesting,” he added. 

The cybersecurity expert noted that the downturn was the first to occur since the M-Pesa system was migrated to Kenya from the UK. 

Kemibaro noted that Safaricom usually informs its customers of planned maintenance and interruption of M-Pesa services. He described the disruption as unusual and worrying, especially for a platform that carries billions of shillings. 

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“Whenever the company has planned a downturn we know in advance. But this is unprecedented and happened back to back within two weeks.

It is quite unusual and worrying to see M-Pesa, which carries billions of shillings having such a problem,” noted Kemibaro. 

However, Safaricom assured customers of their data safety and privacy, dismissing claims that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) was integrating its tax systems. 

In August 2023, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) announced plans to integrate its systems with mobile money service providers to monitor their real-time transactions. 

KRA Chief Manager Domestic Tax Department Caroline Rotich noted that Lipa Na M-Pesa enhances tax compliance, saying the authority is seeking information on traders who ditched the service from Safaricom. 

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