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MPs to Government: Don't Rush Phasing Off Airtime Scratch Cards

Tumwebaze says the electronic airtime will also improve revenue collection since URA can now tell how much airtime the telecom companies sell and also minimize the waste generated from the scratch card.

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Members of parliament have overwhelmingly opposed the decision by Uganda Communications Commission-UCC to phase out airtime scratch cards.

UCC set July 31st 2108 as the deadline for phasing out airtime scratch cards across all networks. UCC now says people can now buy airtime electronically through mobile money.

According to Government, scratch card vending is directly linked to the sale of illegally registered simcards, which are dependent on the scratch cards that can't easily be traced. Presenting a statement of parliament on Tuesday, Frank Tumwebaze, the ICT Minister, said there will not be no more need to have equipment to sell electronic airtime as users can transact directly on their phones.

Tumwebaze says the electronic airtime will also improve revenue collection since URA can now tell how much airtime the telecom companies sell and also minimize the waste generated from the scratch card. 

He says sensitization messages have been running in the media, adding that telecom companies have put in place systems to convert scratch cards into electronic airtime and no one will lose their funds.

 

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Tumwebaze was responding to questions raised by Paul Akamba, the Busiki county MP regarding the move to scrap the airtime scratch cards in favor of mobile money and pay way machines which are inaccessible in many areas.

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However, Members of parliament rejected the scrapping of the scratch cards, saying phone users in rural areas will be affected.

Pentagon Kamusiime, the Butemba MP said people areunhappy with Parliament over the ways it has been handling legislation and it is time for Parliament to go slow.

He says the masses should first be sensitized on why the scratch cards should go. Without speaking about the ban, the speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga said telecom companies would be invited to talk extensively about the banning of the scratch cards and its implications.

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