Orange Sierra Leone financial service, ‘Orange Money’ has remained a big success story in the country’s drive to attain financial inclusion for remote communities. Before the introduction of the ‘Orange Money’ scheme, transmitting money from one individual to another was a big challenge.
The challenge of establishing a complete banking facility in the country especially in remote areas was expensive in terms of the requisite infrastructure needed.
Even in bigger towns and cities, the difficulties inherent in the traditional practice scare away people with very busy schedules.
In the corporate world, the story remains the same. Customers of such services as electricity, water and payment of staff in remote areas was a great problem.
Business entities especially Guma Valley Water Company were losing billions of Leones before Orange Sierra Leone’s financial inclusion strategy. The financial loss came not because customers have no money to pay; it is because they were afraid of the long queues and delays in banks.
Many of these challenges were immediately solved with the emergence of Orange Money in Sierra Leone. Orange Sierra Leone has spread the service far and wide with the recruitment of hundreds of agents.
The system handles bills for Water, electricity and payment of salaries for field workers in non-governmental organisations and other international agencies.
With Orange Money, bills and salaries can now be paid with the greatest ease.
The service was widely used at the height of Ebola epidemic that hit the Mano River Basin between 2014 and 2015. The service was employed largely to pay risk allowances to essential workers in various fields.
Such payment would not have been made possible without the introduction of ‘Orange Money.’
It was successfully utilized by the COVID-19 National Response Team to pay thousands of essential workers contributing more effectively to the fight against the virus.
The platform has also gained acceptance from International Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) and agencies within the United Nations System and other credible organizations largely because it leaves trails for audit purposes.
It generated taxes for government, and enhances government’s access to finance, being the dream and vision of the New Direction Government.
The New Direction’ s vision is also in line with the World Bank and the Bank of Sierra Leone’s vision to improve on the accessibility to financial services.
Access to finance, according to a World Bank study, remains relatively low in Sierra Leone.
The study indicates that only 22% of Sierra Leoneans enjoy access to local financial services. Orange Sierra Leone is not oblivious of criminals’ exploitation of the facility through fraudulent schemes.
The quest to free Orange Money from criminals’ interference compelled Orange Money team to keep on constantly updating the platform. It is hoped that constant update would make the platform increasingly user friendly and less susceptible to fraud.
The recent re-configuration of the platform was to continuously meet the ever increasing demands, and overcome challenges inherent in using the platform.
Orange Sierra Leone has consistently assured the public that they are closely maintaining electronic records of Orange Money transactions across eth country with a view to help the Sierra Leone Police and the general public when the need arises.
The move is to aid the police in their investigation and prosecution of those who want to beat the system. The recent Sim registration was fully supported by Orange Sierra Leone also to restrain fraudsters.
Like other systems of such financial nature, Orange money has its problems, but, the benefits outweigh the problems. Orange Money has left a mark and contributed significantly to government’s quest to create employment for hundreds of youths by running a twenty four-hour service uninterrupted.
Apart from the financial inclusion strategy, Orange Sierra Leone has also embarked on several activities that contributed tremendously to the country’s socio-economic development.
The company recently ended a raffle of Le33Bn with five cars up for grabs by lucky winners. The raffle started in October, 2020, and ended in January this year. It was broadcast live by the country’s state broadcaster, the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation.
The programme used to run from Monday to Friday as well as Saturday between 7:30 and 9:30pm. The programme was conducted on a free and fair basis.
From the start of the programme, Orange Sierra Leone’s customers who regularly use Orange Money, top-up vouchers, purchase data, send in and cash out money through Orange Money have always been shocked with beautiful prizes, and are thrilled for words. Several customers of Orange Sierra Leone got a fair share of the Billions of Leones put out by the mobile network company.
The five vehicles were also won by the company’s customers thus putting smiles on their faces.
The final car went to Augustine Tucker of Berwick Street in Freetown who emerged the last luckiest in the final draw.
Tucker, an employee of the housing and mortgaging company was thrilled for words.
He sounded the happiest for the wonderful gift he did not expect as he expressed thanks and appreciation to Orange Sierra Leone.
With brand new cars, Tucker and the other winners’ travel cost has been cut down. Orange Sierra Leone has also made its presence felt in the corporate world in the face of the Corona Virus pandemic. The mobile company made numerous donations of protective gears to communities especially to Wilberforce community which hosts the company’s headquaters.
Facemasks, hand washing materials, gloves among other items were donated to certain communities.
Food items were also among the donated items to the communities. One of the biggest mosques in the Wilberforce community received several bags of rice, onions, oil and other condiments to help less privileged members of the jamaat.
Orange Sierra Leone also made financial donation to government to capacitate it in fighting the Corona Virus Disease. At the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Minister, Mohamed Rado Swarray received Le1, 000, 000, 0000 (One Billion Leones) from Orange Sierra Leone on behalf of government.
The sum was just part of a number of assistance offered to government by the company. Orange Sierra Leone also ensures that its premises are well sanitised to keep its customers safe from the virus.
Above all, free on-line portals were also launched for students to access learning free of cost.
Most importantly, Orange Sierra Leone has maintained a consistent and coherent communication flow throughout the pandemic. Glaring signs of achievement in the corporate world means that the company is here to stay and will do more.