Unified Billing System (UBS) called locally Lehulu
Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT)

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Citizens in Addis Ababa are paying the water, power and telephone bills every month at a predefined location and they are asked to approach the centers on a specific date of the month ad time. The payment is usually o working hours too. The location they should pay is usually around their living area and inconvenient for them to be off from work to settle the payment. The time allocated to pay was short ad they usually end up in a long queue.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) planned to solve this problem as per the E-Government Strategy of the country using the public private partnership (PPP) by selecting a potential implementer from private sector. The project initiations, coordination, follow up and monitoring after it is operational is done by MCIT. The private company invested on the Capex and Opex to deliver the services and get revenue on per transaction basses.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
It will create a single widow service to citizens by minimizing the time to pay, within an extended time frame. The time to pay most of the times is below a minute without any queue. The other imitative is that anyone can pay in any center in an extended time up to 7:30PM including Saturday’s.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The project is implemented in a PPP principle by considering the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model. The project is implemented as per the national E-Government Strategy prepared and approved at national level for the 5 years.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) is the owner of the project and government institution like Ethio-telecom, Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority and Ethiopian Electric Utility are partners from the government side. The private local partner called “Kifya Financial Technology” is also the partner in the implementation.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The indicative is fully covered by the private partner ad with a principle of BOT. After operating the project for some pre-agreed time, the whole project will be transferred to the government. Even so the project is implemented with PPP, the government allocated some resources to develop the national E-Government strategy, to study the PPP guideline, to select the implementer company, etc. which is the input and also the requirement to the project.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Integrating the different billings system electronically and rendering the services at any center for an extended time beyond the normal working time. Service excellence is another output of the project, up to less than one minute for a payment.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
In the implementation phase a three level committee from all partner institutions chaired by MCIT has been established and a regular follow up mechanism was implemented. After the go-live a strict SLA was designed and signed with all parties and the private sector should follow the performance key indicator to deliver the specified services. Some of the SLAs are the maximum time the citizens will wait before service delivered, the maximum time taken to render the service to one customer, the availability of the system, the minimum environment at each centers, etc. This is regularly monitored and evaluated. The per-transaction payment for the implementer depends on the service quality achieved.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
One of the challenges in the project after go-live (which was only in the first 3 months at the beginning) was the perception of the users in using any centers than the one they were permanently using. There was a big queue in one center (old) but very little users in a new center. The time customers visiting the centers was also the same, everybody wants to pay early morning than in the afternoon. The other challenge was the resistance in changing to the new process from partner’s side. Changing some of their process like data integration, financial reconciliation, etc. has not come without some additional effort. All those limitations was solved in less than three months by intensive public awareness and educating the users.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
One of the major benefits is accessing all the three payment services at any centers unified to the users. The users can unify multiple payments to a single account so that they will pay them easily. The other benefit is that, they a pay I extended time beyond the normal working hours. All the centers are open all the day (including lunch time) from 8:30AM to 7:30PM and also open on Saturdays up to 5:50PM. This will solve the time and location restrictions a lot.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The iterative started with three services unifying but currently the MCIT is working to include three more payment in the capital. The same services are also implemented in four regional cities in this 2014/15 finial year. In showing the sustainability of the project, the partner institutions currently are focusing on their core business than bill collection. The citizens are also demanding the services through time and the implementing partners are also satisfied with the feedback from customers.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
One of the lesson learned from the project is implementing services that are most demanded by the users (like the one implemented at Lehulu; water, power and telephone bills) to fix some of the major compliments like delay in service delivery, long queue, inconvenient time to pay, etc. from the customers which will increase the usage of the services. The other lesson learned is that the project was implemented using the PPP. In PPP the risk of failure, financing, capacity is shared between public and private partner. Hence the project success rate was higher. The last lesson learned is the commitment from the top-level management to enable the services was one of the key factors to make the project successful ad sustainable. The project initiated as per the E-Government strategy ad led by the Minister of MCIT himself from initiation up to full implementation of the project.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT)
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   H.E. Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael
Title:   Deputy Prime Minister level Minister  
Telephone/ Fax:   +251-115503973/+251-115503974
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   debre@mcit.gov.et  
Address:   Mexico Square, Addis Ababa
Postal Code:   1028
City:   Addis Ababa
State/Province:   Addis Ababa

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