UGANDAN LEGISLATORS QUERY ICT MINISTER OVER LACK OF MOBILE MONEY SERVICE LAW

By Joyce Namutebi

KAMPALA, April 24 — Ugandan legislators have grilled State Minister for Information Communication Technology (ICT) Nyombi Thembo over the lack of a law in the country to regulate mobile money services and safeguard clients’ money.

The members of the Parliamentary ICT Committee also questioned Nyombi on Thursday about the lack of a communications tribunal, when telephone companies operating in the country have a lot to answer for.

The concerned Members of Parliament raised several concerns relating to mobile money services and pointed out that it was disheartening to see that so far, there is no legal framework to streamline the service.

Bank of Uganda Governor Tumusiime Mutebile, at a meeting with the ICT Committee in February, conceded that there was need for a law to streamline the central bank’s supervisory role over mobile money services operated by telecommunication companies.

Currently, mobile money operations, an e-money financial service which has 18 million registered users in Uganda, has no clear law regulating it and the Bank of Uganda relies on its 2013 regulations about the business to keep tabs on it.

However, these regulations have no legal effect. According to the executive director for supervision at the central bank, Justine Bagyenda, the Bank recently wrote to the Solicitor-General, seeking legal opinion over the matter.

ICT Committee Chairman Vincent Bagiire said: “The national budget is 14 trillion shillings (about 4.67 billion US dollars). Mobile money attracts 13 trillion shillings. We can’t have an industry equivalent to the national budget and you sit back.”

SOURCE: NEW VISION

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