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Uganda nears cashless economy

Innovations in mobile money payment systems is the trigger that Uganda has long needed to spur the use of credit cards as the country moves into a cashless economy.

“The use of mobile technology for cash settlement is a revolution that will change the way business is done in Uganda,” said Stephen Kaboyo, the Alpha Capital Partners’ boss.

He argued that because the system has far more subscribers than people with bank accounts, it will improve the uptake of credit cards.

Shailendra Naidu, the Warid Telecom chief commercial officer, said it is vital to reduce taxes on mobile phone handsets to ease the cost of going mobile. He noted that the mobile technologies make business operations more efficient and improve profit margins and taxes for the Government.

“This is a low margin, high volume game. We want to create an alternative to cash. That is the general direction of the economy,” Naidu explained.

He revealed that payments for hotel bookings, utilities and commodities can now be done through products like Warid Pesa, Airtel Money, M-Sente and MTN mobile money. The Uganda Revenue Authority chose the platform for tax payments of below sh3m.

Naidu explains that the collection of taxes using mobile technologies would entrench the use of electronic payments in the country.

Faith Chaitezvi, the British Airways commercial manager, said the move towards a cashless society will eliminate risks attached with carrying large sums of money, in addition to boosting the economy.

She added that the use credit cards would boost the vibrant tourism and the aviation sectors through online bookings.

“Any serious airline cannot ignore online solutions, whether for payments or bookings are the vehicles of future travel,” she said.

The New Vision Newspaper
08 June 2012

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