Cashless transactions will be mandatory when filling up a fuel tank at gas stations beginning next year. Payment through the digital system will start operation for residents of the capital this month while a nationwide operation is set to start the following month. The transaction is made through the QR code generated by Ethiotelecom's digital payment system Telebirr which was upgraded to a super app last week. According to Frehiwot Tamiru, CEO of Ethiotelecom, there is 99.1pc of 2G connectivity coverage that can accommodate the newly launched service assuring the infrastructure's reliability to shoulder the payment system. "It's developed to work on every phone type," said Frehiwot during the launch ceremony orchestrated at a gas station around Mechare Meda. The site visit was set in two gas stations of the National Oil Ethiopia (NOC) around Mechare Meda and Mexico areas. GebreMeskel Chala, Minister of Trade & Regional Integration disclosed that they plan to make the digital fuel payment system mandatory for all. There are 1,250 gas stations in the country providing services for close to two million vehicles. According to Alemu Sime (PhD), minister of Transport & Logistics, the payment system is integrated with a fuel registration and allocation system with all of the stations nationwide. He said the government’s huge expenditure on the procurement of fuel and its subsidization makes the retail price of fuel in Ethiopia very low in contrast with neighbouring countries. When it is coupled with the lack of a proper regulatory system, black market transactions with neighbouring states are steered creating a shortage in the local market, according to Alemu.
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