According to findings of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) survey conducted in 2018, only 5% of people in Uganda achieve financial independence after getting their benefits.
Nearly 98% of NSSF retirement beneficiaries blow away their savings in the first year of receiving them. Only 7% have more than shillings 50 million savings while 45% invest in nonproductive ventures.
Reversing this worrying trend, experts say, can only be through enhanced financial literacy.
Henry Mbaguta the head of financial services department in the Ministry of finance says financial empowerment and financial inclusion in this country will be achieved by increasing financial literacy.
In 2017, Bank of Uganda (BOU) came up with an initiative that led to drafting of the Financial Literacy Strategy 2017/18 – 2020/23 which guides the interventions of financial education in the country.
Mbaguta says the strategy has had its activities taken to several regions in the country and various institutions like the Uganda college of commerce (UCC) Kibumba and other institutions, educating people on matters financial literacy and how they can perfectly plan for their money.
He also noted that the financial literacy classes have widely been taken to various women groups and that women have embraced them more than their male counterparts.
“Financial literacy enables people to plan better for all the money they receive,” says Mbaguta
“The BOU strategy is there to make people aware of importance of aspects such as saving consistently, managing loans well, investing wisely, planning for their old age well and generally choosing the right financial Products that suit their needs.”
Mbaguta added that through Bank of Uganda as the coordinator of all financial literacy activities in Uganda, over 1600 trainers have been trained across the country and are empowering Ugandans to make better financial decisions.
He called on private sector to fully get involved in the initiatives that promote financial literacy among citizens.
Angela Bageine, chairperson Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL) says many people in the country (both literates and illiterates) are not financially literate, don’t know how to invest or spend their money and don’t know how to go about the basics of money management.
She says women are the most affected
“These basics are common to everyone who fully understands them. You find that a greater majority, probably 80% have not achieved these basics. You find that women are affected most by many things like culture, education background, roles related to females since they are nurtured to nurture as opposed to invest”
Bageine also blames the education system which she says has collapsed and is not helping because boys and girls are taught irrelevant subjects.
“We need to change our education system and initiate Skilling related subjects because when they get out of school, those are the skills they will need,” she said