“Think outside the branch,” PICZ MD Moses Siame urges Zambians
By Kelvin Chisanga in Lusaka, Zambia, Southern Africa
It has come as a curious surprise in the last few months, as coronavirus is now a story of the day and there is no absolute secret that Zambia, has been having an increase in the number of positive cases for novel coronavirus popularly known as COVID 19, a situation which has led globally to a negative economic peal, as the virus is causing some serious risk factors to governments, businesses and investments.
Zambia is correspondingly not spared at all, the nation’s economic climate is heading towards adapting new economic conduct, technology has strongly been seen as a harbinger of hope in the fight against COVID 19, as it is also fostering smooth operations of businesses within the nation.
In a quest to continue serving business aspirations and needs, Professional Insurance Corporation Zambia Plc has launched a digital payment platform which is fully integrated with the “Government Services Bus,” a national platform built up to meet business to business and business to consumer payment gateway, which has interlinked features and benefits with other business players in the value system such as RTSA, LWSC, ZESCO etc.
Zambia’s idea of digital mason has fully been driven by the government’s trajectory plans, under the Smart Zambia Institute and the Ministry of Finance, where the government of the Republic of Zambia through the leadership of His Excellency Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, would want to see all institutions embracing e-government services, and should fully be integrated into the payment portal. However, it is gratifying to make mention that this was noted way back prior to COVID 19 global outbreak, it was then compounded with the essence of linking all institutions and enterprises to enable all duties and payment obligations such as payments of public services are accessed on time-bound points, by reducing operational inconveniences and ensuring that ease access of such services are right in the face of members of the public, with the view to improve service delivery.
In an open speech right at the launch Professional Insurance Corporation Zambia Limited, Managing Director Mr. Moses Siame, implored on the needs to think and embrace the use of technologies, he cited that service providers are urged to keep abreast with the changing technological environment especially now that the entire world is being faced with COVID 19 pandemic, PICZ has therefore embarked on some innovative modalities by placing technology at the centre of their operations to avoid human contact.
“Insurance plays a critical role in sustaining and growing of the economy, as an indigenous Zambian company, we seek to deliver a service that is highly motivated with public expectations and experience, by providing all our clients with a platform to make cashless payments through the online portal, with the use of debit cards, vendor terminals, mobile payment, electronic points of sale, and electronic bank transfers “. Siame emphasized.
Mr. Siame further mentioned that, the insurance outfit has seen this, to be a great potential eye-opener for them to also reach out all their customers on the database using the unfolding technologies, amidst this unfortunate health situation, as he strongly advise that all customers and prospects alike, should therefore use their digital platform in order to continue doing business with PICZ by accessing products and services online. Mr. Siame further stressed that “consumers, if they continue going into branches or business locations, they can risk contracting the virus by exposing themselves in any unnecessary movements, as prevailing health conditions do not fully warrant safety”.
From the look of things, technology has become such a strategic investment component aimed at offering a diversified scope on the commodity mix in most businesses regionally and globally. However, the use of technology has been made more possible and flexible now, with the advent of the global pandemic, and thus to say to the contrary that, it has created relevance in all aspects of the economy considering that the current health scenario, requires all of us to conduct business with the highest sense of health and safety, embracing the use of technology and related resources, as the current health situation has given such an opportunity to the insurance sector, to also indulge into innovative solutions and ideas. “We therefore decided to launch this online interlink system with GSB following the current crisis, which has given birth to a number of opportunities based on the dynamics seen within the global marketplace. Abruptly, we have a period in which we can influence that change for a good cause today”, Siame emphasized.
The introduction of mobile payment systems and digital platforms by various ICT key players in the market together with the synergy created so far with the telecommunication companies coupled with the banking sector, has necessitated a huge technological advancement interlink which has also enabled PICZ to embed payment gateway for their services, where smartphones and analogue devices can be used, but as for the analogue devices are only able to access the service by dialing USSD short codes, this has been done in an effort to cater for everyone. “Technology is now taking a serious game changer pattern, many companies have planned to develop Apps and we are not left out on this tactical plan”, Siame further explained.
From an industry point of view, this has clearly demonstrated innovativeness, creativity and adaptability of technology within the insurance circles, he further mentioned that “It’s about time now that we redefined new normal, in the process and create it as a better normal world today, riding on useful technologies to drive through the economy despite the shocks of COVID-19.”
However, many business players in the country have started utilizing edge technology and are building up on comprehensive ICT portfolios, Siame said “business players are strongly keeping abreast with technological platforms in order to remain relevant, in a quest to continue conducting activities, he stated that business across the world is changing by identifying ICT as a serious model plan of future business continuity strategy”. It is therefore envisaged to say at this particular point that youths are identified as key drivers of technological advancement and agent change”. Siame advised.
It is however gratifying to say that the digital agenda is being talked about everywhere, and has been earmarked as a key economic driver more especially amongst the youths. Mr. Siame further advised that “the youth, who are actively entrepreneurs need to fully utilize the precision of technology in order to enhance their maximum benefit”. As today’s business and education outlook revolves around technology and points strongly to its use, presently education channels are vigorously helping today’s learners at all levels, as the learners need to engage their mind to the spirit of creativity, self-discipline and personal development in their quest to learning growth processes.
The advancement seen in technology has brought about different aspects of life from an individual perspective and to that of business ventures, we need to pursue innovations in the highest precision of technological forms, and we really need to engage our mind to the spirit of creativity as we develop digital assets. Branding, ourselves with technology keeps all of us afloat in business. However, keeping the customer now requires a strong base of research and development strategy, which should entirely be biased towards the use of technology, companies need to build strong ICT infrastructures to offer reliable solutions so that businesses are sustained and strive sustainably.
Issued Date: Sunday 10th May, 2020
Written By: Kelvin Chisanga