Privacy of mobile money users threatened as Kenyan taxman chases revenue

Monday, July 18, 2016

Kenya has led the world in enabling the No.1 major mobile money ecosystem with over 90% of adults in East Africa’s largest economy transacting money through platform. While many other phone operators and governments around the world have looked on with envy as it has grown to nearly $30 billion a year in transactions, M-Pesa’s lobbyists have been fending off a more difficult adversary.

The Kenyan taxman is seeking unfettered access to private mobile money transaction records in bid to identify tax cheats who use the platform.
Currently only possible through a court order, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA)’s sights are set on the multi-billion dollar informal sector, which has traditionally been elusive but uses mobile money to comfortably transact money at every turn. Other African governments, struggling with how to rope in an elusive informal sector into the tax bracket, will be watching Kenya’s progress closely.
A decade ago, it was nearly impossible to believe M-Pesa, which is run by Kenya’s leading phone network Safaricom, would grow to permeate virtually all aspects of people’s financial lives.

Source: Quartz (link opens in a new window)