In the wake of the recent scandal in which huge sums of money were eaten by officials from the Office of the Prime Minister, Equity bank has launched a biometric cash transaction for refugees as a new technological innovation to avoid similar occurrences in the future.
According to Anthony Kituuka, the Equity Bank Executive Director in Uganda, under the new program, refugees will open up accounts with the bank and will be issued with smart card on which donors and humanitarian agencies will send them money other than passing it through government.
“It will give the refugees the tools they need to increase their resilience & the development partners efficiency in monitoring the fund they send to the refugees,”Kituuka said at Sheraton hotel in Kampala on Tuesday.
In the recent, scandal involving officials from the office of the prime minister, the number of refugees was inflated and money expected to cater for the extra number went into the pockets of officials.
However, according to officials from Equity bank, with the new biometric cash transaction system, government, donors and the refugees themselves are in position to monitor their money and avoid earlier scams.
They said that the cards have a provision through which money from different donors to refugees is separated for proper accountability for both refugees and the donors like United Nations High Commission for Refugees and World Food Program.
Government recently launched a biometric refugee verification exercise at Oruchinga Refugee Settlement in Mbarara District in the wake of a recent refugee scam in which huge sums of money were swindled.
The current government statistics show Uganda is hosting 1.4 million refugees most of whom come from South Sudan.