Ethiopia Launches Africa’s First Unified Utility Billing System

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The Ethiopian government says a pioneering one stop facility for payment of utility bills launched on Sunday is 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.

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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.

Source: The Africa Report

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Ethiopia’s Unified Billing System; The first in Africa?

By: Yemisrach Bantie

The Ethiopian Unified Utility Billing System is the first of its kind in Africa to offer the payment of multiple service bills through one channel.

In February 2013, Ethiopia launched its first single window service delivery initiative that intended to enable government services to be easily accessible, convenient, and unified. The service is being delivered through one-stop shops named ‘Lehulu’ which means ‘for all’ in Amharic.The centers currently collect three utility bill services; water, electricity and telephone, with more services said to be joining the platform in the future. Naturally, delivering multiple services in a single channel enables breaking down barriers by linking services in a seamless manner.

The service Ethiopia introduced to its citizens three weeks ago has been designed on the basis of public-private partnership between the Minstry of Information and Communication and a private company named Kifiya Financial Technology. This kind of agreement, which is the first in Africa according to the Ministry, reduces the burden the government might face financially and in deploying the essential expertise.The agreement was signed almost two years ago with an intention of launching the project in 6 months’ time. However, because of the scale of the project, it has taken around 20 months to finally launch the service in 31 Centers which is set to grow to 41 in a few months. For the past year and a half, thorough studies, building of technology infrastructure along with training and deployment of human power has been carried out, says Kifiya.

Moreover, says Kifiya, the service that has been proven to be very successful in countries like India and Singapore will enable customers to get multiple benefits. The customers who had to spend three days and travel to three different places to settle their utility bills are, in using the new service, able to visit any one of the ‘Lehulu’ Center and can settle all three of their utility bills at the same time.

Kifiya explains that the ‘Lehulu’ bill collection centers will be open from 8:30 am to 7 pm during week days and from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, including lunch hours. This, says Kifiya, allows customers to visit the centers at a time convenient to them. Previously, the maximum time the three utility companies worked had been six hours. As these offices were only open during office hours a lot of people had been penalized or their serviced were interrupted whenever they were not able to leave their work to pay their bills.

Source: Africa Good News

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Ethiopia Introduces Unified Utility Billing System

By Meraf Leykun
March 13, 2013

The Minister of Communication and Information Technology in Ethiopia has successfully introduced unified utility billing system. The Ministry has completed 79 per cent of client registration within a month for inclusion in the new billing system. The billing system is aimed at improving utilities billing systems in Ethiopia.

According to Debretsion Gebremichael, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Communication and Information Technology, the confusion and long queues created in the initial stage of the system a month ago has now been cleared and solved.

The unified billing system, a one stop shop for payment of utility bills enables utilities service users to easily access services in cohesive and convenient manner.

Out of the city’s 368,000 water utility clients, 291,000 clients has paid their bills using the new system. From 348,000 electric power utility customers 308,000 were also given service in the first month.
66,000 telecom clients has also accessed the service out of the 350,000 subscribers.

Currently there are 32 branches which gives 11 hour service a day. The Ministry has plans to increase the number of branches to 41.

The unified billing system project was carried out by the Ministry through an agreement with Global Communication Solutions (GCS), a local IT company and its partners, the US-based NCR and AT&T.

The project has been designed based on the public-private partnership platform between MoCIT and a private company named Kifiya Financial Technology, a sister firm of GCS.

Source: Capital

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