By Bindhe Edward
Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority has taken part in the activities to commemorate Consumer Rights Awareness Day.
The Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority –UMRA was established under section 6 of the Tier 4 Microfinance Institutions and Money Lenders Act, 2016. It came into effect on 5th July 2016 and commenced operations on July 1st 2017 with the mandate of regulating, licensing and supervising tier 4 Microfinance Institutions and Money Lenders.
These institutions include Money Lenders, Non Deposit Taking Microfinance Institutions, SACCOS and Self-Help Groups.
On March 13th, Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority joined dozens of other agencies to participate in a walk from KPC through Kampala Rd to Sheraton Kampala Gardens ahead of the World Consumer Rights Day exhibitions.
The consumer movement marks 15th March with World Consumer Rights Day every year, as a means of raising global awareness about consumer rights and needs. Celebrating the day is a chance to demand that the rights of all consumers are respected and protected, and to protest against market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights.
World Consumer Rights Day was inspired by President John F Kennedy, who sent a special message to the US Congress on 15th March 1962, in which he formally addressed the issue of consumer rights. He was the first world leader to do so. The consumer movement first marked that date in 1983 and now uses the day every year to mobilize action on important issues and campaigns.
The East Africa Business & Consumer Expo (EABCE) 2019 is an initiative by the Consumer’s Guide Magazine, a regional publication whose mission is to guide Consumers while in the market, where to purchase trustworthy goods, products and services.
It is on this basis that the Consumer’s Guide Magazine, invited the Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority among other agencies and Service Providers, to participate in the East Africa Business and Consumer Expo at the Sheraton Gardens from the 13th to 15th day of March 2019 with the theme “Trusted Smart Products”.
- To enlighten the public on the mandate of UMRA that is to license, regulate and Supervise Tier 4 Microfinance Institutions and money lenders.
- To distribute informative material to the public that includes the Tier 4 Microfinance Institutions and money lender’s Act, functions of the Authority, application forms of attaining a license, physical and contact information of the Authority.
The Authority used this day to disseminate important information about the mandate of UMRA and the regulatory requirements. Several people later visited our stall during the three day’s expo to learn more about what we do.
“It was a good experience for the authority because it exposed us to the clients and their needs. Some borrowers do not know their rights and have in most cases fallen to trickery of money lenders. For instance, they do not know they are not supposed to sign sales agreement. Some money lenders use this as trick to force them sign sales agreements instead of loan agreement targeting their security. We have used this platform to sensitize the public that sale agreements during loan transaction are not allowed. ” said Bindhe Edward, the spokesperson.
Bindhe added that the Authority will use all these platforms as well as media campaigns through radio stations and television talk shows to sensitize the public about the tier 4 Microfinance Institutions and Money Lenders Act,2016.
UMRA was also pleased to receive a certificate of participation.