By Bowers Mugabi Kaweesa
Ms Sylivia Nakyeyune, a government official at Wakiso District was robbed of Shs90 million as she enjoyed at QC Restaurant and Bar in Nansana. Earlier, a Kyambogo University student had lost money for tuition in betting.
In September, a Sudanese family was robbed of nearly half a million dollars from the house of a South Sudanese national in Kampala.
Snoop cameras captured a middle-aged lady near Mega Supermarket whimpering after she was fleeced of Shs2m for her children’s school fees.
This week, armed robbers shot and injured two staff of Salama Tea Estate and robbed them of Shs40 million. The money in question was employee’s salaries. And the list is endless.
As the whole world is harnessing information technology and resorting to semi cashless economies, the Ugandan leaders, in their wisdom, found it pertinent to simply switch off the internet, or heavily tax the new systems with abandon. In countries where there’s sanity, it’s now obsolete to move or carry loads of money.
Even in the poorest countries, folks know how to use mobile money transfers.
In a cashless economy, financial transactions are not conducted with physical banknotes or coins, but instead with digital information (usually an electronic representation of money).
Credit and debit cards, electronic payment apps, mobile payment services, and virtual currencies in use today could pave the way to a full cashless society.
Most of our people have the technological ability to take advantage of a cashless society and will find that it’s more convenient. As long as you have your card or phone, you have instantaneous access to all your cash holdings. Convenience isn’t the only benefit.
Reduced crime rates
Carrying cash makes one an easy target for criminals. Once the money is taken from your wallet and put into a criminal’s wallet, it’ll be difficult to track that cash or prove that it’s yours.
Cash Management Costs Money
It costs money to print bills and mint coins. Businesses need to store the money, deposit cash if they have too much on hand, and in some cases, hire companies to transport cash safely. Banks hire large security teams to protect branches against physical robberies. Spending time and resources moving money around and protecting large sums of cash ought to become a thing of the past in this age of information technology.
International Payments Become Much Easier
When you travel, you may need to exchange your dollars for local currency. However, if you’re traveling in a country that accepts cashless transactions, you don’t need to worry about how much of the local currency you’ll need to withdraw. Instead, your mobile device handles everything for you.
Do we still have schools that are conservative in Uganda? I am thousands of miles away from Uganda but I always pay school fees by simply pressing a button. In fact, I’ve never seen the headteacher.
So why would a lady move in Kampala, a den of thieves, with cash? Why would a serious parent of a university student give him cash instead of electronically transferring it to his fees account? And what demon possessed a local pastor in Mutundwe to lose Shs300million cash from his house?
My old mother in the rural setting of Masaka pays her workers and electricity bills using mobile money in the comfort of her house. I’m certain many folks will come out to defend society’s unsophistication and callowness with all sorts of lame excuses but that is typical of a docile society that has for almost 40 years been predisposed to submit readily to control.
“Don’t compare us with Kenya!”
Although being insensitive to the world around you might seem like the most comfortable option, ignorance can actually be a dangerous thing. According to Daniel J. Boorstin, “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.
An Austrian friend of mine told me that the incidents of highway robbers waylaying bullion vans is only in movies. Ironically, in our 60years old nation, these vans are owned by individuals whose criminal record is suspect. Oftentimes, the police will arrest the innocent bodaboda riders near the crime scene.
Ignorance deprives people of freedom because they do not know what alternatives there are. It is impossible to choose to do what one has never heard of.