What is your general assessment of the banking industry in Uganda?
The banking industry in Uganda is mainly composed of commercial banks, most of them foreign-owned and profit-driven. The industry is oligopolistic in nature, which is to say that they offer similar products and their pricing is almost uniform including bank charges, interest rates and associated fees. There is a high concentration of banks in urban centres leaving the rural areas where the population is higher un-banked.
Recent press reports about UDB gave a negative impression about the institution in regard to management and disbursement of funds. What is happening?
The negative reports were a result of changes that happened in the bank following the appointment of the new board in 2012 and later a new senior management team. The reports were precipitated by some of the staff that left the bank as a result of staff rationalization. The reports were a subject of court proceedings and eventually the court rulings were all in favor of the bank.
There is a notion that public enterprises like UDB are prone to mismanagement. What is your take?
This is unsubstantiated. With the right tone at the top, all public enterprises can be well managed. This has been demonstrated in some public enterprises such as URA, National Water & Sewerage Corporation, and KCCA.
From the FINANCE perspective, how should small and medium enterprises deal with the high cost of doing business in Uganda?
Organisation in SMEs is still lacking, which creates a number of risks from a FINANCING perspective. In terms of cost of doing business, SMEs would have more bargaining power in addressing common problems if well organized and this would go a long way towards helping them to reduce the costs of doing business.
Now that UDB has rebranded, where do you want to see the bank going forward?
We want to see this bank as the authority on development FINANCE in the country. I am confident that we have the capacity to make this a reality and we are determined to positively impact the social economic transformation of Uganda.