Bank of Uganda will now regulate all digital payment systems

By Edwin Muhumuza

Bank of Uganda has been granted more powers by parliament to regulate all financial services after the National Payment Systems Bill, 2019 was passed into law.

According to the parliamentary Committee on Finance, Planning and Economic Development chaired by Rubanda East MP Musasizi Henry, the previous absence of a national payment systems law, has led to uncertainty, where service providers who are not financial institutions engage in electronic and digital financial payments and as such, there has been inadequate protection of money across all digital platforms.

The amendments grant Bank of Uganda more powers of regulation and not Uganda Communications Commission as has been.

The passing of the bill ensures that the legal framework for the financial sector does include non-financial institutions like MTN, Airtel, Uganda Telecom, PayWay, SafeBoda and Uber that provide payment systems.The move, parliament said would address the regulatory gaps that have affected users of these payment systems for some time.

Among other concerns of the bill was to provide for the safety and efficiency of payment systems; to prescribe the rules governing the oversight and protection of payment systems; to provide for financial collateral arrangements; to regulate payment services providers; to regulate issuance of electronic money; to provide for the oversight of payment instruments and for other related matters.

Observations made previously was that the law regarding payment systems was not comprehensive enough since Bank of Uganda relies on Article 162 (1) of the Constitution which provides that Bank of Uganda shall encourage and promote economic development through effective and efficient operations of the banking and credit system to develop the payment and securities settlement systems.

Such payment systems include the Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) for interbank transfer, the Automated Clearing House (ACH) System for the clearance of cheques, and the Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT). The securities settlement systems, including the Central Securities Depository (CSD) system operated by Bank of Uganda and Securities Central Depository System operated by Uganda Securities Exchange have been implemented.

However, these developments by the central Bank have been surpassed by a growing and developing economy which has seen a shift from traditional payment systems to the evolution of new systems such as electronic and mobile money.

This has exposed gaps in certain aspects such as licensing, regulation and supervision of the providers of the emerging payment systems thus posing a danger to users of the payment systems, a predicament, that the new law seeks to solve.

Neaurosurgical society commends SafeBoda for its safety

 By Deo Wasswa
Neurosurgeons in Uganda under their umbrella body, Neurosurgical society of Uganda have observed the argent need to increase on number of doctors in this sector with an aim of extending their services fully to the public.
Currently the government aided hospitals have only 12 neurosurgeons yet they have to attend to all patients being admitted in hospitals with brain issues. Dr.John Baptist Mukasa, a member of the society noted that a day at Mulago Hosipital only, between six (6) to eight (8) patients with brain injuries are admitted and the bigger percentage is due to Boda boda accidents. He made the remarks while announcing the long term partnership the Neurosurgical society of Uganda has entered with Safe Boda Uganda with an aim of educating and sensitizing Boda boda operators and their passengers the importance of wearing helmets to protect damaging the brain in event an accident occurs.‘’There is no better place to protect than that place which makes you tick, you must protect the brain, if you don’t use helmet you are risking changing your life for the worse forever’, Dr. Mukasa added.
About three billion Uganda shillings is lost to the country every single years because of head injuries that  emerge as a result of Boda boda accidents and carnage on the road.
Records at traffic police data center show at least 7,000 people lost their lives in boda boda accidents in three years. Traffic records further indicate that 24,352 motorcyclists, passengers and pedestrians were seriously injured in boda boda accidents while 2,010 people suffered minor injuries.
On the same note, Rick Rapa Thomson, the co founder of safe boda Uganda has welcomed that partnership, adding that it will go a long way in sensitizing both the Boda boda riders and passengers the good of wearing helmet.  He said wearing a helmet well is a first step, but wearing a good quality helmet is the most important step. According to him, safe boda has so far registered 6000 boda boda riders and it’s quite a good number for such partnership to take off.