Kampala, Uganda | Isaac Khisa | Uganda’s mobile money transactions grew by 19.3% to Shs 79.8 trillion for the year ending June.30, according to Michael Atingi-Ego, deputy governor, Bank of Uganda.
Atingi, who was speaking during the Uganda Bankers Association retreat at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel on Sept.22, said out of the last year’s total mobile money transactions, 40.7 trillion was recorded from January to June 2020 citing coronavirus pandemic.
He also revealed that the escrow account balances increased by 51.8% from Shs 632.7 billion in June 2019 to Shs 960.2 billion in June 2020.
“The value of credit card payments rose by 19.7% and the number and value of point of sale transactions rose by 27.5% and 14.5 percent respectively,” he said.
“The value of mobile and internet banking transactions increased by 157.3% and 52.9% respectively,” he added.
Atingi said active users on the internet and mobile banking platforms grew by 36.7% and 46.9%, respectively during the same period.
He said taking a constructive rather than stifling approach to regulation and supervision, the BoU encourages the banking sector and players in the payments system to extend their innovations, further promoting and leveraging electronic banking and payment channels for financial deepening.
He, however, said digitization also brings new challenges which motivated the BoU to direct all the supervised financial institutions to enhance their cyber security and defenses against operational risk and data privacy concerns.
Nevertheless, Atingi noted that the opportunities presented by the modernisation of payment systems, such as through digitization must be seized and exploited so as to provide safe and efficient payment systems to the Ugandan population, foster financial stability and economic growth.
He said to reap the fruits of digitization while managing the associated risks, it is necessary to adopt multi-sectoral as well as public-private partnership strategies to boost connectivity with broadband internet across the country, implement interoperability and nonexclusively across platforms for economies of scale through the expansion of the market size, support inclusive enterprises and rolling back business informality, human capital development for digital and financial literacy, consumer empowerment and protection, and building resilience against digital risks through cyber security, competition, disaster recovery and business continuity plans.
Uganda Bankers’ Association Chairperson Mathias Katamba said though there has been reduced aggregate demand for finance and credit, banks have had initiatives geared towards supporting customers’ credit management which he said has kept the banks closer to the customers during COVID-19 induced restrictions.
He advised business leaders to follow the market trends and prepare for post COVID-19 era through preserved liquidity.
“Banks have been supportive to customers in bad times. They have been close to them through their credit management. The resilience of businesses has been tested. Businesses need to prepare for post COVID-19 era by preserving their liquidity,” Katamba said.
Rashmi Pillai, executive director, Financial Sector Deepening Uganda, said there’s need to strengthen leverage on technology to deliver financial services to deepen financial services to businesses.
She said there is need to rethink of models that build sustainable financial systems that respond to the needs of the people in hard times including incentives for emergencies, change in personal financial behaviour and enhance brand reputation.