All borrowers must now have national IDs, BoU directs  

Effective January 1, 2023, all individual borrower accounts must have a NIN for Ugandans and an alien identifier number for non-Ugandans. PHOTO | EDGAR R BATTE 

What you need to know:

  • According to Bank of Uganda, the requirement of financial cards will be revoked and a transition to national identification numbers for Ugandans and other identifiers for non-Ugandans, shall begin.  

New and existing borrowers will now be required to have national identification cards or national identification numbers, according to Bank of Uganda 

In an October 21 circular to all supervised financial institution, Dr Tumubweine Twinemanzi, the Bank of Uganda executive director supervision, said that effective January 1, 2023, all individual borrower accounts must have a national identification number (NIN) for Ugandans or a unique identification number for non-Ugandans. 

“Effective January 1, 2023, all individual credit borrower account records shall be supplied with a NIN or other unique identifier duly issued by the relevant registration authority in accordance with the laws of Uganda,” he wrote, noting that the number must be issued by the relevant registration authority in accordance with the laws. 

Dr Twinemanzi told Monitor Tuesday that Bank of Uganda was responding to Section 66 of the Registration of Person’s Act 2015, which demands that a person must have a national identification number or alien identification number, to among others, open a bank account, consume credit or access financial services.

The directive will in effect require that financial cards, which have been key in accessing credit for more than 15 years, be replaced by personal identifier numbers given that financial cards limit access to financial services to a large section of the population. 

According to Bank of Uganda, during the year ended June 30, 2022, the number of financial cards grew from 2,082,034 at end of June 2021 to 2,242,747 with the number of participating institutions installed on the credit reference bureau system increasing from 603 to 604. 

During the period, the Central Bank indicated, the total number of credit enquiries made to credit reference bureaus rose by 15.9 percent from 918,359 as of June 2021 to 1,064,641 in June 2022. 

In the circular, Dr Twinemanzi said to promote financial inclusion and broaden credit information sharing, the requirement of financial cards would be revoked, noting that participating institutions shall thus “commence a transition from financial cards to national identification numbers as the mandatory identifier for Ugandans and other identifiers for non-Ugandans in a phased approach. 

Therefore, he directed that with immediate effect, all new individual credit applications of Ugandan citizens must be supplied to the credit reference bureaus with a national identification number while in the in the interim, all credit records of non-Ugandans must be supplied to credit reference bureaus with either a refugee number, passport or work permit number until such a time when National Identification Regulatory Authority issues the alien identification numbers.

Bank of Uganda will also effective December 1, 2022, require that all loans to non-individual borrowers or corporate entities licensed to conduct business in Uganda, are reported to credit reference bureaus with a unique registration number issued by the relevant registration authority.

Financial institutions have been using financial cards to track borrowing activities of a customer. 

Participation institutions shall also be required to profile historical borrowers in a transition period that is expected to expire on December 31, 2022. 

“During this transition period, participating institutions are required to update the profiles of individual borrowers or consumers of credit with existing unretired credit facilities, with the applicable unique identifier or registration number earlier prescribed in this circular,” Dr Twinemanzi wrote in the October 21 circular. 

More requirements

Bank of Uganda will also effective December 1, require all loans to non-individual borrowers or corporate entities reported to credit reference bureaus with a unique registration number issued by the relevant registration authority.

Financial institutions have been using financial cards to track borrowing activities. 

Participating institutions shall also be required to profile historical borrowers in a transition period that is expected to expire on December 31, 2022.

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