Mobile Money Agents

What Mobile Money Agents in Uganda Think About the Recently Implemented Mobile Money Tax

Uganda's infamous mobile money tax that stops at nothing and affects everyone it comes across has been a center of public outcry for quite sometime now. Whether you are a customer depositing, sending or withdrawing money, or simply an agent carrying out the transactions or the telecom company providing the service, this tax has affected you in one way or another with some even getting hit more than others. 

It is upon this that I recently decided to visit and interact with a couple of mobile money agents whose views are being ignored because they are simply looked at as middle men. I was able to get their take on this tax.

On Monday 16th July, I started my day visiting and interacting with mobile money agents inside and around Ntinda new market. A one particular agent, Richard (not real names) was still puzzled by the tax when I interacted with him. Richard who had been getting 80 mtn mobile money transactions each day making him the busiest in the area had now reduced to transactions below 30. "I have been getting 80 transactions a day but I currently get 26 to 27 transactions" he explained. Richard's main worry was that he had been the busiest in the area and as such had been affected most. He also added that this period has been the slowest business period for him and that he has had to deal with numerous complaints from customers who say they won't be using the service again each time he gets done with their transactions.

Another Lady called Mercy, an airtel money agent in Nakawa who had been making about 25 airtel money transactions in a day had seen he business reduce to 5 or less customers a day and mostly doing withdraws. Mercy didn't see anything other solution other than having the government of Uganda scrap that tax that it had implemented. "The tax is only making things worse and we have been suffering with unemployment in Uganda for quite sometime now. Those of us who have started mobile money businesses are now getting pushed out of business." She explained. "Does this government want more unemployment?" She asked.

Thankfully, the president of Uganda recently apologised to the public and said he had been rushed into signing the 1% tax decision on mobile money transactions and had decided to have it reduced to 0.5%. Hopefully this reduction will be effective and see more customers that had been scared off return to using the service.

This mobile money tax has been an effort by the government of Uganda to achieve financial independence from foreign masters. The government believes sourcing money from within will help reduce Uganda's foreign debt and will be more developmental to the country.

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