A PARTNERSHIP deemed long overdue, Vodafone Fiji and Post Fiji yesterday announced an agreement to offer mobile money services through postal outlets.
Post Fiji chairman, Lawrence Tikaram said the event marked another significant chapter in Post Fiji Limited's towards diversifying and extending the company's reach to increase its services.
"PFL builds its foundation on the fact that as a provider of service we need to ensure that the customers we engage in not only become satisfied, but become successful in the way they engage with us," Mr Tikaram said.
"This way we protect and grow the environment we operate in. PFL in its endeavors to venture out to raise its performance for the future while looking after the present, will continue to invest in maximising its business opportunities, which not only provides a different avenue for our customers but ensures it, builds on our capacity which is our strength.
"In the age of technology we either move ahead of it or get left behind- PFL have chosen to move ahead of the game."
With a new board, Mr Tikaram said the postal company was ready to look at ways of keeping the company abreast with the growth in technology.
"We need to sell what customers are buying or what we create is the opportunity to buy and engage with our customers," he said.
"The new direction the Post Fiji board has embraced is one that prepares us to rebuild from the past, prepare for the future and manage today's expectations with a ever evolving need to embrace change — change for the better and change for the future.
"We should be seen as the greatest ambassadors of change. We can only become more commercially viable if we are to enter in commercial viable arrangements to ensure longevity of this business," he added.
The partnership will allow 40 of the 52 Post Fiji outlets in Vanua Levu and Viti Levu and on the islands of Kadavu and Ovalau to immediately start M-PAiSA transaction.
The remaining outlets are expected to be online in the coming weeks as training are completed depending of flight availability.
Vodafone's Public Affairs manager, Shailendra Prasad said the partnership would offer Post Fiji a huge opportunity to set the platform and use technology combined with its physical presence around the country to offer more financial products and services. "This is particularly in the area of microfinance where there are a number of new and innovative products that is being developed. The servicing of such micro-products with small installment payment and huge transactional cost in the current environment becomes more cost effective and attractive through M-PAiSA.
"Holding credit balance in customer's m-wallets means they can transact whenever they need to without the need to travel to bank outlets to cash out all the time. Also, a strong network of agents means particularly in their own neighborhood or store that usually serves that community makes it easier and more convenient to transaction. It is not as intimidating when you enter an unfamiliar bank branch," Mr Prasad said.
Post Fiji will not only offer M-PAiSA service but also the complete suite of Vodafone products and service such as mobile handset, SIM cards, data products and also recharge.
"We are extremely delighted about our partnership and the potential it holds for enabling better communication, bridging the digital divide and also achieving greater financial inclusion," he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Prasad said linking mobile money with the banking institutions was a "matter of time" with the banks cautious of security issues.