Recent Government initiative and development in Uganda’s financial sector:
i. Agriculture Insurance
Government of Uganda established the Uganda Agriculture Insurance Scheme (UAIS) in FY2016/17, as a Pilot whose objective is to cushion farmers from risks associated with losses arising from natural disasters; and also attracting financing to agriculture. Agriculture Insurance encourages commercial banks to lend to the agriculture sector given that the risk associated with agriculture is mitigated through appropriate insurance cover, which thus improves access to agriculture loans.
The scheme provides Insurance cover for crops and livestock, for both small and large-scale farmers. Under the scheme, government provides premium subsidy funds, and in collaboration with Industry players also undertakes publicity, sensitization and training of farmers. The Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda (IRA) provides the regulatory oversight and quality control, Bank of Uganda (BoU) on the other hand manages the drawdown on UAIS Account, while the Monitoring and Evaluation of the Scheme is done by the UAIS Technical Working Committee.
For details, please check;http://aic.ug/uganda-agriculture-insurance-scheme/
ii. Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority
The Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority (UMRA) was created under the Tier 4 Microfinance Institutions and Money Lenders Act, 2016 that commenced in July 2017. UMRA is expected to restore investor and consumer confidence in Uganda’s microfinance industry whose reputation had been damaged by the rampant fraud in SACCOs and the unethical practices by some money lenders. The Authority is implementing the new law with the Tier 4 regulations for money lenders and Non-deposit taking MFI’s having been gazetted and issued. This will help to streamline money lending business and also foster the adoption of good practices that will encourage savings mobilization through SACCOs in light of improved regulation and confidence in SACCOs and other Microfinance Institutions.
iii. Agent Banking
The Financial Institutions (Amendment) Act, 2016 provided for Agent Banking in Uganda. The Financial Institutions (Agent banking) Regulations, 2017 were issued by the Bank of Uganda to guide its implementation. Bank of Uganda has been able to issue licenses to a number of banks that have embraced Agent banking, which goes a long way to improve access to formal banking services and thus enhancing financial inclusion.
The Insurance Act, 2017 provided for bancassurance, thereby allowing commercial banks to be licensed to provide insurance services on behalf of Insurance firms. The Insurance (Bancassurance) Regulations, 2017 were issued by the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda to operationalize its implementation. The Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda has issued several licenses to a number of commercial banks in this regard.
v. Islamic Banking
The Financial Institutions (Amendment) Act, 2016 provided for Islamic Banking in Uganda. The Financial Institutions (Islamic banking) Regulations, 2018 have been issued by the Bank of Uganda to operationalize Islamic Banking in the country.
vi. Government efforts to enhance Uganda’s AML/CFT Regime
Government has implemented a number of reforms that led to Uganda’s removal from the Financial Action Task Force’s International Cooperation Review Group (FATF-ICRG) Grey list in FY 2017/18, after fully addressing the strategic deficiencies in Uganda’s Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Regime.
vii. National Risk Assessment
The Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) in collaboration with the Ministry coordinated a Money Laundering/Financing of Terrorism (ML/FT) National Risk Assessment (NRA), which has paved way for the application of the risk-based approach to AML/CFT supervision. The NRA provides recommendations and an Action Plan which identifies and assigns specific responsibilities to particular public and private entities with respect to AML/CFT. The NRA was discussed and approved by Cabinet in August 2017. Government is currently prioritizing the implementation of the National Risk Assessment Action Plan.
For details, please check: http://fia.go.ug/fia2/publications/national-risk-assessment-report
viii. Development financing through Uganda Development Bank
The Uganda Development Bank (UDB) launched its 5-year Strategic Plan for the period 2018-2022 with key sector intervention strategies in Agriculture, Manufacturing, Tourism, infrastructure, human resource capital development, minerals, and oil and gas sectors. The strategy aims to ensure improved corporate governance, effective mobilization of resources, and partnership with key stakeholders and continued development of Human resources.
In an effort to increase the availability of long term capital, Government has continued to capitalize Uganda development Bank Limited. This has helped the Bank in growing its mandated role of providing development finance solutions to required interventions needed to address development challenges as well as market gaps that existed in the industry.