The Ethiopian government has launched a one stop facility for payment of utility bills. It refers to the development as an indication of its commitment to provide better services to ordinary people.
The system known as “Lehulu”, an Amhraic word meaning “for all”, is powered by an Ethiopian company, Kifiya Financial Technology Plc and is said to be a first in Africa.
Ethiopians currently pay their bills to three utility companies from different payment points.
Addis Ababa has 2.1 million transactions each month and 1.1 million bill paying customers and the new system is set to offer more convenience.
Kifiya has also engaged consultants to plan a roadmap for the implementation of financial service delivery to remote, rural areas without access to any financial services.
Lehulu will replace existing utility payment centers for Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO), EthioTelecom and Addis Ababa Water and Sewage Authority (AAWSA).
“Customers will be able to get services at all centers on extra hours including Saturdays”, said Communications and Information minster Debretsion Gebre-Michael.
“The service would be expanded to state capitals.”
31 Lehulu centers have been operational since Monday in Addis Ababa, with a further 27 set to be put in place in the next three years.
The plan will be rolled out in some of the country’s major cities, including Mekelle, Bahir Dar, Awassa and Adama.
Kifiya plans to transfer Lehulu customers to mobile bill payment customers, enabling them to make transactions using their mobile phones by next year.