Uganda drafts financial Bill

A woman holds cash in a bank. Bank of Uganda is intentional about developing the domestic financial markets. PHOTO / MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI 

What you need to know:

Uganda is still plagued by the low capacity of local investors characterised by pension assets per capita of only about $125 (Shs482,735). 

The Bank of Uganda has said Uganda has commenced on the new law named Uganda Financial Agreements Bill which when complete and passed will help Uganda reduce settlement risk and credit risk and eventually provide investor confidence in Uganda’s financial markets.

In his keynote address at the Absa Africa Financial Markets Index on February 6 at Sheraton Kampala hotel, the deputy governor Bank of Uganda, Dr Michael Atingi-Ego said markets that have been granted a clean netting categorisation have observed several-fold increases in investor participation in their markets, and hence enhanced access to capital.

“Ugandan government securities have also gained global visibility through international listing on the FTSE Frontier Emerging Market Index effective July 2023. We are also in discussions to list on the ABABI Index of the AfDB and thereafter the JP Morgan Emerging Market Index,” he said.

Dr Atingi-Ego said these indices provide global visibility for Uganda’s government securities, attracting more offshore investment which should eventually lower government borrowing costs.

 “The Ugandan market is also in the process of adopting the FX Global code of conduct to support ethical trading in the financial markets. BoU also launched the Repo guidelines to the international community on the side-lines of the IMF-World Bank meetings in Morocco last year in October, and these can now be found on the Bank of Uganda website,” he said. 

However, Dr Atingi-Ego said: “Despite our improvements in numerous areas, we are still plagued by the extremely low capacity of local investors characterised by pension assets per capita of only about $125 (Shs482,735). This has adversely affected our performance under Pillar 4: “Capacity of Local Investors” with a score of just 14 percent. We, therefore, recognise the need for further pension sector reforms to ensure that pension assets are invested in the real sector to spur domestic economic growth.”

He said the Bank is intentional about increasing efforts to develop the domestic financial markets, stressing that they have and continue to create a conducive environment to attract, retain and allocate capital for economic growth and development, even though the dividends are yet to materialise. 

“We need to dedicate resources to address legal and infrastructure challenges and develop innovative products that are market-responsive including ESG products, increased access for the diaspora, improved infrastructure, sukuk bonds, formalising the commodities market, among others,” he said. 

Adding: “Uganda’s position as the leading financial market in the region should prompt us to question why Uganda should not have the ambition to establish itself as a financial centre to rival others in the region. In this regard, I would like to inform you that the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has appointed the Bank of Uganda to chair the Uganda Fixed Income Market Steering Committee, which is comprised of key stakeholders in the financial markets in Uganda.”