Govt revives plan to print money within the country

The Minister for the Presidency, Ms Milly Babirye Babalanda, launches the construction of the Security Printing factory in Entebbe yesterday. PHOTO / FRANK BAGUMA

What you need to know:

  • While officiating the ground breaking ceremony of the Uganda Security Printing factory at the Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation yesterday, the Minister for the Presidency, Ms Milly Babalanda, said printing of money would commence as soon as a feasibility study is done when the construction of the factory is completed in 18 months time from now.

The government has revived a plan to establish a money printing factory in Uganda to bring services closer to the people and minimise foreign expenditure on such documents.

While officiating the ground breaking ceremony of the Uganda Security Printing factory at the Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation yesterday, the Minister for the Presidency, Ms Milly Babalanda, said printing of money would commence as soon as a feasibility study is done when the construction of the factory is completed in 18 months time from now.

“This factory will not only print security documents like passports, driving permits, national identity cards, birth and death certificates, and land titles, among other documents but it is also envisaged to print the Uganda currency in the long run,” Ms Babalanda said.

She added: “This will greatly save our foreign exchange outflow. We have been spending a lot of money on printing security documents abroad because we lacked the capacity to do so before.”

The minister asked the parties involved to procure a multipurpose machine that will be able to print all security documents.

“In my letter, I told you not to procure substandard equipment to ensure value for money. I know some people have personal interests but I don’t want to be diverted from what I said. If you buy a different type of machine, I will arrest you,” she warned.

The minister also said Ugandans with required qualifications should be given jobs befitting their professions in the factory.

In 2015, the government, under the the guidance of President Museveni, embarked on the process of searching for an investor who would work with the government to revamp Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation.

Three years later, government signed a deal with a German firm, Veridos Identity Solutions Group, to start printing its own security documents including bank notes.

However, officials from Bank of Uganda opposed that idea.

The former governor of Bank of Uganda, the late Emmanuel Mutebile, in one of the meetings held at State House, said printing money from Uganda would compromise the security of the currency in case of leakages of primary material.

Responding to the earlier concerns raised by some economists, the chairperson of Uganda Security Printing Company, Prof Muhammad Ngoma, said: “I believe the president is the fountain of honour. Once he pronounces himself, of course with guidance from technical people, you cannot reject.”

Prof Ngoma said the factory will reduce the cost of security documents by almost half of what they have been paying.

“An express passport has, for example, been costing about Shs500,000 and the normal one Shs250,000. Now that they are going to be produced here, the cost will reduce to cost half of that,” he said.

He added that regional offices have been established to take services to the people.

The construction works are estimated at Shs41 billion while the equipment is expected to cost Shs66 billion.

The managing director of Uganda Security Printing Company, Mr George Mugerwa, said government owns 51 percent while the German consortium 49 percent.

Mr Mugerwa said the factory will create about 300 jobs.

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