Banks reject NITA-U controlling customers’ data over incompetence

Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija is joined by Deputy Governor of the Bank of Uganda, Louis Kasekende and members of the UBA at a ceremony. Uganda Bankers Association has rejected NITA-U’s proposal to manage their clients’ information (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – Commercial banks under their umbrella body the Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) and the Bank of Uganda have discarded a proposal to have the National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) manage their clients’ crucial and financial information.

While appearing before the Parliament Committee on ICT said the mandate to should be given to a private data company other than NITA–U, a government institution citing incompetence in the national information organization.

“Our issue with the National Information Technology Authority Uganda is competence, speed of delivery, responsiveness and capacity,” said Agnes Tibayeita, who represented the Uganda Bankers Association.

They presented their position before the Committee, which is considering the Data Protection and Privacy Bill, 2015.

The Bill seeks to protect data privacy and ensure confidentiality of information provided by individuals to service providers.

Mr Elliot Mwebya, the Executive Director Information Technology at Bank of Uganda, who represented Governor Tumusiime Mutebile, in same reject NITA-U to be entrusted with client’s data.

“Does this mean that no person can collect data without informing NITA-U? Does it mean that before I collect data, NITA-U has to clear me?” said Mwebya, in reaction to a clause that seeks to empower NITA-U.

Some sections of the public have accused the Authority for delays, especially for individuals seeking to replace lost national identity cards. This they argue forces clients to opt for fake documentation so as to avoid the bureaucracy.

M r. Isaac Bonny Teko, the Executive Director Contracts at Bank of Uganda said despite the absence of legislation, they have been resisting the urge to divulge private persons’ data.

“This information [regarding clients] is confidential. Despite having regulatory powers, we insist that the processes are followed and we follow the procedure to protect private individual data,” he said.

“The clause risks having malicious individuals obtain personal data relating to third parties based on mere suspicion or even dishonest belief that the third party accessed their personal data,” said the bankers in a statement.

The Bill is set for consideration by the House at its second reading in two weeks.

Early this year, commercial banks Uganda Revenue Authority’s (URA) request to access its customers’ records. The URA was seeking unfettered access to private money transaction records in a bid to identify tax cheats who use the platform.



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