DOVES Funeral Services has accused leading telecommunications companies of creating unfair competition by deviating from their core mandate into provision of funeral insurance.
Although privately owned, Doves appears to be the government’s preferred service provider in the sector and is known to take care of most State funerals.
The company’s chief executive officer Talent Mazivisa said the funeral services industry has been blocked by mobile network companies from fully enjoying the benefits of information technologies, a development which has become a threat to viability and pushed packages prices upwards.
“It is critical and requisite to have relevant distribution channels for micro-insurance products. We have been talking about the need for mobile service providers to provide aggregate data and allow assurers to compete on products,” Maziwisa said, speaking on informal sector inclusion before the SMEs parliament committee this Thursday.
He added, “We have been lobbying that network providers must concentrate on their core business to make sure that transactions and communications are done and allow assurers and financiers to compete in product distribution so that we deliver affordable products.
“The cost of delivering a $3 product is high but if we had our network providers not being competitors, they would have allowed us the platform to transact, something we have been failing to do since 2012 especially with the major providers, Econet and NetOne.
“We have set and structured products together but they never see the light of the day because of that aspect of one being aggregator and competitor. That is stifling financial inclusion and access to assurance product.”
Explaining how they are penetrating SMES sector, Maziwisa said supporting small businesses was difficult because the majority were unregistered, a problem worsened by fragmentation of their representative associations.
The parliamentary committee was seeking that the funeral assurer considers small businesses for outsourced services which include coffins, coffin accessories, stationery, cleaning services, flowers, fumigation, fuel, vehicle maintenance.
“We would be pleased to see the creation of a single association which represents all these SMEs,” said the Doves CEO.Advertisement
“Government needs to review downwards the entry level requirements including the about $300 needed for registration and increase support towards capacitation to guarantee quality services and sustainability.
“SMES are sometimes a pleasure to work with, especially those that are honest. There are some coffins which even though the person is dead you feel like they are being suffocated and you try to return such a product then you find them gone.”