Monday, June 18, 2012

Mobile Banking Innovations - FMB Mobile

There is nothing i hate like spending hours and hours in a banking hall waiting to transfer money or to simply deposit cash. That's why i have always liked to use my mobile phone in making these transactions. In my quest to find the best bank which has an easy to use and user friendly mobile banking innovation, i have come across the FMB Mobile.

I opened a savings account at Limbe Leaf Tobacco company in Kanengo last week through one Direct Sales Agent, Queen Molande. I had gone to work on a machine at the Auction Floors so i happened to have 10 minutes to spare. Those ten minutes were enough to open an account and register to probably one of the best mobile banking innovation, FMB Mobile.

What is FMB Mobile?

FMB Mobile is a convenient way of accessing your FMB bank account using your mobile phone. You can easily manage your account from the comfort of your home, office or anywhere else through your mobile phone. Registration is simple, fast and free.

I registered and got confirmation in one day!

With FMB Mobile you manage your FMB Fast Account, FMB First Cash or Makwacha Account with your mobile phone for services like your account balance, mini statements, money transfers, bill payment or airtime top-up for your phone or any other phone. All that 24-hours per day, 7 days per week. You only have to visit any FMB Branch or agency if you wish to make a deposit into your account. People can even credit your account from their own FMB Account using FMB Mobile.

Key FMB Mobile services

-Balance inquiry

-Mini statement(Your last four transaction will be displayed on your phone or sent as an SMS to your phone).

-Mobile airtime top-up ( you can instantly top-up units for your own or other mobile phones (available to TNM and Airtel networks).

-Bill payments (Water and Electricity Bills)

-DSTV Subscribtion

- Money Transfer
From any other of your FMB accounts.
FMB accounts of others; you can even pay a shop owner or taxi driver who will get an SMS that you have paid!

Remittance (Ziri M’manja)

Another special mention should to go this great innovation!

With this service, one can transfer money to anyone, anytime, anywhere in Malawi even to those who do not have a bank account. All they do is receiving an sms with some digits which can be used to withdraw money on an ATM even without an ATM card!

FMB Mobile registration is absolutely free and the service fees are charged to the account and not the mobile phone. Meaning that you can still access FMB Mobile even when your cellphone has not credit!

You can get more information from their website.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Making a living out of Lilongwe River self made bridges

It is a useless river to those who simply pass it everyday.It is one of the dirtiest rivers around and no meaningful business can come out of it. But for Dalitso Chimwaza it is where they earn their living. Chimwaza and several other friends earn a living from collections they make on a wooden brige they constructed across Lilongwe River.

"We get everything we need in life for doing business on this river" he said. People pay 15 kwacha just to cross each of the several bridges on Lilongwe River.

'People coming from the other part of the city wanting to go Tsoka Market have to cross the river. It is a long distance to use the road and cross the normal bridge so they are left with no means but to pass through here" happily said Chimwaza. He claims that they go home with thousands of kwacha at the end of the day.

I counted four bridges ran by dfferent groups of people who are always busy collecting money and giving back changes to their customers. Some people can pass through the bridges several times each day. The bridges are made out of long blue gum trees and planks sourced from the nearby market.

For the customers it is a very convinient way of going to the market as it helps them cut the distance.

"It is easier to access the market if we use these bridges because we save time instead of crossing through Lilongwe Bridge. We used to pay 10 kwacha before devaluation but now they have adjusted the price," said one woman who had just crossed the bridge.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Malawi President is on Twitter!!!

Thank You Malawi! was the very first tweet from a Malawian President ever! President Mrs Joyce Banda posted her first tweet on 10th April, 3 days after assuming the presidency. Since then she has only managed to post one more tweet.

President Banda joins few other African leaders who are using the social networking site to engage their followers. The most popular African leaders on Twitter are John Atta Mills of Ghana, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, South AFrican President Jacob Zuma, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Paul Kagame has 64, 617 followers. Zambian President, Micheal Sata's twitter account is protected.

Amongst the world leaders, Barack Obama's account remains the most popular Twitter account with more than 16 Million followers according to an article by the Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

Madame Joyce Banda is also maintaining a personal website with a link to a page to her People's Party. She can also be found on Facebook.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

67 days of a Binguless Malawi

It has been a roller coaster ride for the warm heart of Malawi in the past 67 days since the demise of the mighty Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika. Alot has been done and undone by the 'new' regime that took over from the fallen African son. Things have been moving too fast to the extent that this blog could not keep up with he pace of events. Information flow was and is still not stable yet as it was in the past months. Fancy you can hear of a purported change in government positions from mere people even days before the official announcement. Rumours have been in constant supply in the past 67 days even more than the nearly 8 years of Professor Mutharika's rule. What is worrying me most is that most of these rumours prove to be true. Somebody ought to tighten the grip on the information flow!

However there are several issues worthy mentioning on this blog. It took me time of compile these issues because of their sensitivity and how they keep on changing with the pasaage of time.

Exit Bingu, Enter JB

This was long overdue! Most of us wanted this to happen early last year but fate had its on way of playing out the power card. Not that i joined those who celebrated Bingu's departure but the guy was gone, no amount of grief would bring him back. Much as i dint like the way he was eliminated, change was necessary so i had to look to the new leadership. However there is need to clear out the gray areas surrouding his death. He was the President, right, so we all need to know what happened to chitsulo cha njanji when he died whether on 5th, 6th or 7th. The family can sit back and wait for the findings or they can even contribute to make it easier for those assigned to make the findings.

Midnight Six

I watched the senseless press conference these former ministers held on this night and i have been replaying it several times on youtube to get the understanding behind the statement. I have come up with one conclusion, you can still be a political underweight even after playing politics for a long time. If the midnight six and company wanted to play out against the vice president, they needed strong brains and great thinkers to be able to twist the law in their favour. The crap they gave us that night could not hold any water. Even a layman like me could not bring that argument. What baffles me is why these people are still walking scot free! By the time the commission of enquiry will bring out the results, mercy and forgiveness will have taken over our President's heart!

Cabinet, Lipenga, MRA, defections to PP and stuff

Why is Lipenga still heading the Finance Ministry. If we hated the past regime is because of its financial performace and poor gorvanance and human rights record. So to retain the man who was at the helm of Mutharika's economy is not only an insult to Malawians but also a recipe for failure! No wonder the guy had the audacity to stand tall and expose some of the things they were using to sex up budget figures!

The cabinet is fine but we all know that it was not chosen on merit but based on party lines to beef up support for the People's Party. Some of the people chosen were put in right positions but lets wait and see how they will perform in the two years they have. We have seen well qualifed ministers behaving akwardly in the previous cabinets because of pressure from their political masters.

Sometimes i think like am the only one who has not joined the PP! Everyone is like PP, PP, PP. Men we have over 40 political parties in Malawi cant you support these others? A healthy democracy needs strong parties and strong parties needs strong players. One other reason why Mutharika and company grew wings is because of the majority we gave him in 2009. I remember Bingu used to brag about this in most of his rallies. So we make the mistakes of heapig the same majority on PP.

Greed is one reason almost each and every MP is dishing his party to join the PP. Yes, they will say my constituets have told me to join PP when in actual sense they are protecting their business interests. Worse still some of these dumped their parties a few hours after the death of Bingu. I laughed whe i heard one former cabinet minister who had just come out of the nocturnal 'cabinet' meetings, went straight on air to say his consituents have sent him to join PP. I was like when did he consult his consituents!

Bold President or Western Puppet?

Madame President have made several bold decisions in the 67 days or she has been forced to make these decisions depending on which side of the coin you look at it. It is good for any country to have a position on international issues but these positions should be carefully scrutinised before announcements and proper consultations should take place. The previous leaders (some are still there) acted like they were more Malawian than the rest of us. They liked to play god in every situation even those regarding the masses. So in making these decisions make sure we are heard.

Madam Preident and company need to be reminded that they will be judged by how their decisions will affect Malawians. They may make bold steps which will make westerners happy by have effcts on Malawians. I have also to remind the readers that Professor Muntharika was in good books of these donors before things lost track. I remember how he convinced them to forgive our debts in 2006!!

I like the way the hosting of African Union and the purported arrest of al Bashir summit has played out. I cant hide the fact that i badly wanted to see the drama of arresting al Bashir at the Kamuzu International Airport and detaining him at Lumbadzi Police Station and later at Maula Prison waiting for Louis Morino Ocampo and the ICC crew to send the chartered plane. But the effects of all these could have been devastating to the Malawians than the few millions we have lost in missed businesses opportunities.

By the way whats the position of the new government on our relationship with China?