The Ethiopian government has announced that as of April 24, 2023, fuel transactions in the capital, Addis Ababa, will be conducted exclusively through electronic payment methods. This trial will be followed by a nationwide rollout planned for July 8.
The Ethiopian Petroleum and Energy Authority made the announcement after a stakeholder meeting in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Logistics, Ethio Telecom, the Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise, and fuel station owners in Addis Ababa.
According to the Authority, the move toward cashless transactions is part of Ethiopia’s efforts to modernize its economy and promote financial inclusion. The government has also emphasized the importance of technology in ensuring traceability, preventing traders from cheating on taxes.
As of mid-last year, around a quarter of a million public transport vehicles under the fuel subsidy program have been settling their payments through telebirr. In the past nine months, more than 30 billion Birr worth of fuel transactions have been made through telebirr.
The electronic payment system, telebirr, recently upgraded its platform to a super app offering an array of services, including e-commerce, food delivery, entertainment, utility bill payments, and transportation.
Nedaj is another payment platform designed for fuel payments, developed by the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) and EagleLion Systems Technology. Nedaj is a digital fleet management and fuel purchasing solution. Customers can use the Nedaj application to find local gas stations, pay using CBE accounts, and receive electronic invoices.
Currently, there are 1,250 gas stations in the country, serving nearly two million vehicles. The demand for fuel has risen by an average of 14 percent annually over the past decade in Ethiopia, and the nation spends billions of dollars importing.
The Ethiopian Petroleum & Energy Authority is also acquiring a new system to digitally regulate the petroleum market. Once it is fully automated, industry actors such as stations, fuel trucks, and depots will be able to share real-time data with the Authority.
The new system, which will consist of an app and a data center, will allow the Authority to digitally record the precise figures when fuel is loaded onto trucks, offloaded at gas stations, and purchased by automobiles from the stations.