By Independent Reporter
The long awaited Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) and Financial Card System were on December 3 officially launched by Uganda’s Central Bank Governor Tumusime Mutebile and the Germany Ambassador to Uganda, Buchholz Reinhard.
The new financial card will carry borrowers biodata and once swiped though a card reader will reveal all credit history of an intending borrower. The move is intended to reduce risk and cost of lending by banks.
Financial institutions have been continuously exposed to high credit risk on account of lack of adequate information on borrower’s credit worthiness.
At the launch, Mutebile said lack of the CRB had been a major bottleneck to the expansion of credit in Uganda. He also said Ugandan firms consistently cite limited access to credit as one of the greatest barriers to their operations.
“Up to now the infrastructure for information sharing and unique borrower identification has been non-existent. The participating institutions had no way of checking and sharing information on the credit history of borrowers,” he said.
The CRB is expected to improve the performance of Uganda’s financial sector, and to stimulate economic development by making borrowing easier, more accessible and ultimately cheaper.
Borrowers can use their positive credit history as collateral to access loans at better rates. It is further expected to increase efficiency and competition among the different sector players. The German government, through its development bodies GTZ for technical support and KFW for financing, facilitated the project together with the Swedish government and World Bank.
Up to 357 out of 370 scanners have been fixed in banks across the country for the CRB and financial card system. Parliament passed the Micro Deposit Taking Institutions Act 2003 and Financial Institutions Act 2004 which propelled the process of establishing the CRB.