Bitterness, confusion as Makerere decides to pay students’ allowances using mobile money

Written by: 
Christopher Tusiime

Government sponsored students at Makerere are still exchanging bitter words with their leaders, with some planning to strike, after they were informed that their long awaited allowances will be channeled through mobile money.

This money had always been sent to students’ bank accounts.

However, according to the university bursar Augustine Tamale, the process has been changed to E-wallet (or suing mobile money) by the government.

“We now use what we call the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) which requires one to register first and also have a Tax Identification Number (TIN) which our students do not have. So we have decided to use mobile money numbers to make it easy for students,” Tamale explained.

But students under their umbrella body Makerere University Government Students Association (Mugosa) have already expressed their dissatisfaction with the new process.

Most argue that today Friday, February 9 is the third week of the semester, a time they normally receive the allowances and chaging the system abruptly is like denying them their entitlement.

“I think this is one way of delaying to pay our money. Sincerely we were expecting the money on our accounts today and they are telling us to go and register our numbers? How will that work? Some of our numbers are not registered in our names,” said Ambrose Mugume.

Every semester, government sponsored students receive money meant to cater for their meals and accomodation. Those who eat lunch from the university get about Shs 630,000 while those who do not take any meal get Shs 770,000.

However, most students say that if this money is sent via mobile money, they will be charged highly, yet Tamale says they will not cater for the withdrawal charges.

Most students are also worried about the fact that some of their lines are not registered in their names.

The Mugosa President Patrick Sseremba has faced sharp criticism from students, with many accusing him of failure to inform them about the new development in time.

The number of government sponsored students in Makerere could not be readily established, but it is estimated that they over 2,000.

The Dean of Students Cyriaco Kabagambe is yet to release an official document guiding students on how to register their numbers and also give a timeline for the process.