Edmond Abu Jnr., the Executive Director of Native Consortium and a cross section of mobile money agents
By Mohamed Amara Gando
Thousands of Mobile Money Agents across Sierra Leone are angry and have given a seven-working day ultimatum to Orange Sierra Leone starting from 9 March to 17 March to reverse a 5% commission, as well as address other growing concerns or they will start a nationwide sit-down strike.
On 5 March, the agents held a meeting with the Executive Director of Native Consortium Research Centre, Edmond Abu Jnr. in the conference room of the Native Consortium office at Siaka Steven Street in Freetown to express their “frustrations”.
“We used to have a 5% commission from Orange money, but as we speak now, for the past three months, we have not been receiving this commission from the mobile telecommunication company. Orange has refused to listen to us. We have channeled our concerns to the management of Orange, but we have been categorically told by them that they have nothing to do about our concerns,” said Fanko Musa Marah, speaking on behalf of Mobile Money Agents in the Western Area. He added, “We have over 9,000 Mobile Money Agents across the country. We had wanted to protest since February, but as peaceful citizens of this country, we have decided to channel our concerns through Native Consortium so that our concerns will be looked into. We are calling on Orange to consider our 7 days ultimatum. It will not be good for them and also for us if we decide to sit without doing any money transaction. Sierra Leoneans will not be also pleased with our actions.”
A representative from mobile money agents from Waterloo, Abubakar Conteh said they were really frustrated by the actions of the mobile company. He said out of 100% of orange money transactions, they used to get 5 % but even the 5% is no more. “We basically don’t get anything for our work,” he explained.
A representative of the Mobile Money Agents in Makeni, Victor Williams said he was at the meeting to represent his colleagues. He pointed out that members from the Bombali District Mobile Money Agents were also aggrieved.
The Executive Director of the Native Consortium Research Center, Edmond Abu Jnr. said they recently held a meeting with Orange on the concerns of the Mobile Money Agents. “Pertinent among the concerns was the 5% commission issue which to them was never communicated to neither were any reasons given for the action,” he stated. He called on Orange to sit with the Mobile Money Agents to get a win-win situation. Effort by Beyond Borders to reach Orange for their reaction to the ultimatum was futile.