The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has signed a contract with u-money for the Conditional Cash Transfer under the Reducing Rural Poverty and Malnutrition Project.
The agreement was signed at the headquarters of Star Telecom in Vientiane on Wednesday.
The ministry entered into the agreement on the project with Star Fintech Sole Co., Ltd. (u-money), through the Department of Rural Development and Cooperatives.
The contract was signed by the department’s Acting Director, Mr Khamauan Khamphokeo, and Director of Star Fintech Co., Ltd. and General Director of Star Telecom, Mr Luu Manh Ha.
The event was witnessed by the Director General of the Payment System Department of the Bank of the Lao PDR, Mr Soulisack Thamnuvong, along with other officials from the two parties.
The contract enables the use of u-money for the Reducing Rural Poverty and Malnutrition Project, which is part of a larger project funded by the World Bank.
The project will be rolled out in the provinces of Phongsaly, Oudomxay, Huaphan, and Xieng Khuang. The aim is to disburse US$14 million to 42,000 poor families within a period of four years.
The money is expected to be disbursed starting next month.
The u-money system has been chosen for the project so that the target families can receive the money directly, quickly, and securely.
The money is transferred to the recipient’s telephone number and can be withdrawn manually via mobile phone. The disbursal is processed by village level service agents, Unitel staff, and convenient counter services.
This is another step in providing a subsidised, conditional assistance service via u-money in remote, rural areas.
It is the first time such a system has been used in Laos for conditional disbursement to the beneficiaries of a poverty alleviation programme through the Mobile Money service, which is modern and secure.
The u-money system of money transfer has gained the trust of the government following the payment of salaries and allowances from the National Treasury to 11 districts that do not yet have banking services. This method of transferring salaries to villages is seen as very convenient.
In December 2020, Unitel used the u-money system to transfer 500 million kip worth of flood relief aid to Savannakhet province to the mobile phone numbers of 1,200 households. Once the money has been transferred, individuals can withdraw it through Unitel staff or u-money agents, receiving the funds quickly and securely.