Uganda intends to start printing its own money from the country after government signed a MoU with a Germany company on Thursday, Chimp Corps report.
President Museveni has Thursday witnessed the signing of the MoU between government and Veridos Identity Solutions Group, for the “printing of Uganda’s security documents like bank notes, passports and cheques.”
The State House press statement said three Ministers – Hon. Esther Mbayo for the Presidency, Hon. Matia Kasaija of Finance and Economic Planning and that of State for Investment and Privatization, Hon. Evelyne Anite – signed the Mou on behalf of Uganda while Dr. Herman Sterzinger, Chief Operating Officer, initialed the document on behalf of the German Company.
This move may not go down well with the Central Bank Governor Prof Tumusiime Mutebile who in 2016 warned Kasaija that printing money in Uganda might compromise the security of the country’s currency as a result of “incidents of leakages of printing material or knowledge to counterfeiters.”
Mr Mutebile also observed that Veridos Identity Solutions “are not a known banknote/currency printing company and from the publicly available information, this company specialises in identity solutions like passport and national identity cards.”
Mr Kasaija, who favoured the idea of printing money in Uganda, responded: “His Excellency, the President guided that Veridos Identity Solutions (GMBH) should also be tasked to print currency in the country” and that the company had confirmed that it will be in position to print currency in the country.’
Veridos Identity Solutions Group that was created with the aim of creating secure and pioneering identification and identity solutions, entered into a joint venture with the Uganda Printing and Publication Corporation (UPPC) on June 11th 2016 after winning the bid, according to State House.
In the meeting that took place at State House Entebbe on Thursday afternoon, President Museveni noted that this new venture would save Uganda a lot of money that it has been spending on printing documents from abroad.
“There was hemorrhage of resources that was unjustified. Money was going out to print currency notes for a long time. About US$25 million was spent each year to create Ugandan currency,” he said.
Mr Mutebile had cautioned that banknote printing is a “very specialised activity that is complex, with high quality and security sensitivity which a handful of reputable currency printers undertake in the world.”
“This activity involves the use of highly specialised materials that range from paper and inks, embedded with various security features that are extremely restricted and heavily patented. The public’s confidence and acceptance of banknotes ranges from, among others, the quality, reliability of the security features, availability, and low level of counterfeits,” Daily Monitor last year quoted Mutebile as warning Kasaija.
Mutebile cited the World Bank figures, showing that most countries do not have currency printing factories and have instead opted to directly contract specific reputable private currency printing companies which operate in a complete secrecy.
Interestingly, Mr Museveni, who thanked the German company for its joint cooperation, criticized government officials for “taking too long” to act on such “crucial matters that affect the country.”
He added that licensing bodies must not “over price working licenses for investors because it cripples investment and discourages potential investors.
“These things of taking two years to deliberate on such matters must stop. Why did you spend two years discussing something that was so obvious?” he wondered.
On his part, Mutebile said the reduction in bank notes demand occasioned by mobile money and online banking cast doubt on the viability of the project.