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The Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) is aiming to collect 60 million birr through television license fee in the current budget year from television set owners. “We believe there are about one million television sets in Addis Ababa. This year, we plan to get them registered. It has been very difficult to know the exact data on television users as we didn’t have an effective system, which made utility fees collection difficult as well,” said Senayit Haile, Marketing and Promotion Director at EBC.
Ethiopian Broadcast Corporation (EBC) and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) concluded an agreement with Kifiya Financial Technology Plc. authorizing the later to collect television license registration fees throughout its 34 Lehulu fees collection centers starting March 16th 2015.
Kifiya Financial Technology has been giving the same service for the water, electricity and telephone operators since the past three years providing the possibility of a unified utilities fee collection system.
The new payment structure will enable TV owners to pay the annual license fee which is 60 birr, at the nearest Lehulu centre making the process convenient. The integrated payment system would also eases the challenges EBC has been stumbling with in collecting the license fees.
“Some [TV owners] have been paying the ownership fee, but everything was done manually and we were not able to build a database of TV owners. From statistics obtained through a survey EBC and Kifiya had carried out, we are able to estimate the number of television sets,” Senayit said.
The survey took one year to complete and it was after that the threesome signed the agreement.
Last year, the corporation was able to collect roughly around 12 million birr from television license fees.
A customs regulation was issued years ago to ensure that new television set owners are registered upon acquiring the merchandize. The regulation obliges that imported television sets will not be cleared by the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority before each individual set is registered by EBC.
“The gap is due to lack of awareness, and this is an issue we are working to solve. When awareness is created, there will be more transparency making tracking easier,” Senayit stated.
Depending on the outcome of this initiative in Addis Ababa, the unified utility fees payment system will be expanded to other regions integrating more services. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology partnered with Kifiya Financial Technology Plc. to establish the electronic payment service, which unifies and simplifies the payment of multiple utility bills in February 2013. Kifiya Financial Technology Plc. currently serves 600,000 customers in Addis Ababa, processing 1.2 million transactions per month.