Uganda’s growing Mobile Money transfer business signals a new trend of commercial transaction that will require better standards to operate efficiently.
It is important to note that many Ugandans are facing risks of rackets that exploit technology to wipe out people’s account balances from both financial institutions and other such related platforms, including mobile money services.
In the last two years, an increasing number of mobile money transfer losses and irregularities have been reported.
Some cases have leaked through to the public yet others remain restricted to financial institutions or telecom companies due to fear of undue publicity and exposure.
Recent media reports indicate that companies and individuals are losing money through mobile money platforms yet the regulatory system remains weak or even nonexistent and susceptible to fraud.
The high speed at which the mobile money platform has grown has exposed users, yet the industry has not bothered to develop sufficient guidelines to close loopholes exploited by fraudsters.
Whereas telecoms might be doing whatever is possible to protect users, they need to have benchmarks upon which their systems operate.
It is quite disturbing to see that a platform that has swiftly grown to transact about Shs1 trillion (every month) in money transfers operates with no clear guidelines and regulation.
Whereas the Uganda Communications Commission is mandated to supervise the telecom sector, there are concerns about the institution’s ability to regulate mobile money transfer effectively.
There is urgent need for a competent financial regulator to oversee Uganda’s money transfer platform.
Mobile money users cannot continue being held at ransom by telecoms even when they justifiably have complaints to file against such entities for unjust treatment and delayed or undelivered transactions.
Measures that protect users from fraud, exploitation and unjust treatment should be developed and must be enforced by a neutral player whose role is to balance customers’ and the industry benefits.