PPP for bill payment
In Ethiopia, a public–private partnership called ‘Lehulu’ (which means both ‘for all’, and ‘for all services’, in Amharic), established jointly by the Ethiopian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and a private company, was launched in early 2013. Its remit was to allow easy payment of bills from the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO), EthioTelecom, and Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA). Based on the ‘build–own–operate–transfer’ model, this was said to be the first such institution in Africa, and has the potential to create more than 450 jobs (Kifiya Financial Technology, n.d.). In the build–own–operate–transfer model of PPP, a private firm sets up a system, owns and runs it for several years, and then transfers it to the public sector.
The one-stop facility is available in various parts of Addis Ababa and other towns. Customers can save time, energy and transport costs by paying all three of their bills in one location, instead of having to go to three different payment points. At launch there were 31 Lehulu centres in Addis Ababa, with plans to expand to other towns such as Mekele, Bahir Dar, Hawassa and Adama. Addis Ababa has 2.1 million transactions per month and 1.1 million bill-paying customers (Anon., 2013a), and the payment centres have extended opening hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Mondays to Fridays, and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays (Kifiya Financial Technology, n.d.). For each bill processed, the private company running the system receives 2.54 cents (Anon., 2013b). There are plans to make the system accessible online and via mobile phones so that payments can be made without the customer actually going into one of the payment centres. This will save even more time and energy.