OPINION: Who has bribed UCC to abolish Airtime Scratch cards?

Regardless of the existence of forces of innovation and globalization, there some of the moves that have been pushed by government agencies at a speed that may influence one think if there is a big brother behind the dubious acts.

I have been forced to believe that the Uganda Communication Commission’s (UCC) bid to abolish scratch airtime card is biased and unjust and exploitative in nature.

The first question I may ask, is why the rush? Have the crimes been committed because of airtime or because of other factors related the UCC’s weaknesses? Anyway, what is the relationship between a scratch card unregistered sim cards? Don’t you also think that emphasis would be put on things that provide solutions to the current cyber problems the country is going through rather than things that provide opportunities of stealing money?

Besides UCC claiming that this is being done in the bid to embrace technology and the related propaganda, I have developed a feeling that the issue of abolishing Scratch cards is two way traffic.

  1. One is that there is a possibility of Telecommunication companies influencing the commission this move so that they can make more profits through cutting printing and distribution costs of Scratch cards. It should be remembered that follows the aborted move that hit the country earlier this year when the price of airtime Cards increased by shs.100 – 200 depending on the amount and where one was buying airtime from. According to some airtime retailers, its alleged that this happened because Telecom Companies had scrapped off the profits retailers were getting from the scratch cards resulting to the increment of its price from 500 – 600 shillings.  Due to this, the pressure from the public intensified and the telecom companies were forced to revise their resolution resulting into the maintaining the old prices but though people are able to buy airtime cards on the same old price, it doesn’t mean that telecom companies gave up on the move and the only way they can have this bid passed, is to influence UCC to play their dirty game.
  2. The second allegation is that if it’s not telecommunication companies pushing for the removal of scratch cards from the market, then Chances are high the government’s regulatory arm might have scooped a deal from an E-top up gadget service provider who is likely to inject a certain sum of money to have the exploitative move passed without public rejection. You remember digital migration of TVs!

Well, some of E-top up gadget seems to be going to depend on internet in that sometimes they lose network even in the city center, how about the villages and hard to reach places? Talk about the price of procuring an E- Top up Machine! So how much internet have you extended to the country sides? You need to grow sensitive and understand that Uganda does not evolve only around you and around urban centres only.

Yes it’s a fact that UCC rushed to switch off analogue Television casting, yet your free are channels don’t even cover 10% of the country and now a good number of Ugandans have Decoders but even take months without watching TV due failure to afford the inflated subscription fees by some service providers.

If I may ask again, how sure then can we be that these E-gadgets will be available and efficient not like the Electoral Commission Biometric Machines that messed up the recently climaxed General elections? Have you sensitized and prepared people on handling this upcoming E-gadgets? Stop imposing your Greed, failures and tinier thinking and understanding on innocent already vulnerable citizens.

If you can’t handle modern challenges, just resign and let fresh blood take over. You make us (Ugandan) think that this is one of the many financial scams the government is creating. Just like Seat belts, Speed governors, Car inspections, UNEB rising fees to certify academic copies during election time, EC rise of nomination fees within election period among others. Stop taking Ugandans for granted for their silence, there is deep wisdom and planning in their silence.

For God and My Country.

The Author is a Patriotic Ugandan

Names withheld

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