Blogging is tough! Takes loads of time so I will try short posts for now.
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Seems Kenya is slowly but surely sliding back to Price Controls aka Command & Control:
Price Caps - Consumers & GoK force Price Caps on Oil Marketers. Not fair since it might kill off competition & the pricing formula places too much power into the hands of GoK/Ministry of Energy mandarins. No 3rd party oversight like South Africa.
Price Floors - Safaricom & Telkom want to protect their margins by 'lobbying' GoK to force Airtel to charge a minimum. Though GoK/CCK has not agreed to it, Airtel may be bludgeoned into accepting implied Price Floors through subtle threats.
Other potential Price Controls or throttling competition [including an untested law on competition]:
- Airtel, Yu & Orange want in on Safaricom's M-Pesa phenomenon. Nonsense. Build your networks EXCEPT for 'fair' clearing house fees.
- Banks must have leaned on CBK Governor to make Forex Bureaus less competitive. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Increase the oversight on the Forex Bureaus with heft penalties for abuse. Forcing us to go to banks who nickle & dime us? Unfair!
- Mastermind convinced GoK to amend the tax rules for cigs [in favor of MM]. BAT fights back by adjusting prices DOWNWARDS. MM complains.
What I prefer is open access [with fair interconnection fees] to all players who agree to minimum quality requirements.
What galls me is the lack of ATMs everywhere. Yes, we have great competitors/alternates in M-Pesa, Airtel Zap & Orange Money & YuCash. Yet, sometimes I want cash at odd hours. Anonymously. I am NOT comfortable going to a M-Money agent for a large sum [40,000/- or $500] then walking out. Who knows who he knows?
The chap has my mobile number. He has my ID number. He knows how much I withdrew. Or deposited. I like ATMs coz I figure HAL is still a benign chap. For now.
So back to my the crux of the matter. Instead of pushing price caps for M-Money, let's encourage Open Access between the players including Banks, PesaPoint, PesaPal, Telcoms, etc
ATMs - In 3 years from 1,078 (2007) to 2,052 (2010) is pathetic. Not even 100% while bank profits, loans & deposits have grown at least 100% for most banks since 2007. Check www.bankelele.blogspot.com for Bank Ratings.
Just my 2 cents!