Uganda:OTT, Mobile Money take center stage as govt signs MoU with FSDU

In Uganda, technology, in particular has paved the way for more efficient and effective financial markets.

The introduction of mobile money revolutionised how everyone accessed financial services.

It’s against that background that Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSDU) for regulations that won’t sacrifice these innovations.

“This MoU with the ministry of ICT, reaffirms our belief that technology is both going to disrupt and power how we use financial services in the future. Regulatory jurisdictions are going to get blurred requiring regulators across departments and agencies to come and work together – balancing the needs of prudential regulation without sacrificing innovation,” FSDU’s Director Programs, Rashmi Pillai noted at the signing of the MoU at the offices of the Ministry of Information, Technology and National guidance.

“Increasingly, government world over are also using digital transactional platforms to deliver a range and volume of payments and benefits which often carry significant cost reductions as well as providing a potential entry point into formal finance for recipients,” he added.

According to FSDU, the MoU will enable it to work with the Ministry to ensure that Ugandans are able to the dividends of this revolution.

Speaking at the event, the permanent secretary in the ministry of ICT, Bagiire Vincent Waiswa said the newly introduced tax (OTT and Mobile money tax) wasn’t a hindrance to innovations since such tax is charged by even developed countries.

“What we have heard, people are not complaining about the tax being too much. Their only worry is that such tax is not put to good use. I think this is what the government should address,” he advised.

“However, the tax is not a problem. In some countries like Dubai, they are even paying more. In Dubai, Whatsapp calls were blocked because Whatsapp has no permission to operate call services there. But Uganda, anyone can make Whatsapp calls. All we are asking from you is to just pay Shs200 and make these calls both locally and internationally….at just Shs200.” 

Nevertheless he thanked FSDU for leading the way in facilitating the development of robust and inclusive financial markets; thereby improving Uganda’s competitiveness.

Under the MoU, FSDU plan to provide technical support to enable the Ministry efficiently and effectively coordinate the implementation of the government’s national electronic policy.

The MoU comes at a time when Bank of Uganda director of statistics Charles Abuka just revealed that mobile money transactions declined by Shs672 billion in the first two weeks of July 2018 when the mobile money tax came into force.