Education

Makerere explains use of mobile money to pay students’ allowances

Customers carry out transactions at a mobile money tent. Students sponsored by the government at Makerere have been asked to register their mobile numbers to receive allowances through the mobile wallet system.

Makerere University bursar Augustine Tamale has explained that the new system of paying Living Out Allowance (LOA) to government sponsored students through mobile money and not bank accounts was a directive from government.

According to Tamale, all government institutions were instructed to use Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), a process that requires the user to have a Tax Identification Number (TIN).

“Since our students stay here for less time and and most of them don’t have TINs, we decided to use E-wallet, where one’s money is sent directly to their phone. If they want it on bank accounts, they can easily transfer from mobile money to the bank accounts,” Tamale said.

However, most members of Makerere University Government Students Association (Mugosa) have defied the new system. Godfrey Bainomugisha, a second year student, saysthe association should sue the institution.

“Why don’t we sue the university? This system of mobile money won’t work.

When did it start? It seems these guys have partnered with those telecom companies to steal our money which we won’t allow?” Bainomugisha vowed.

For Christine Awor, also a member of Mugosa, the university is not being considerate because her line is not registered in her name.

But the outgoing Guild President Paul Kato, in a WhatsApp message to Mugosa members, said the new system should be embraced.

“Members, this shouldn’t scare you. There is a new payment system which has been rolled out in all government institutions, Makerere inclusive.  Payment is called E-wallet [where] money goes directly to one’s Mobile money account,” Kato said.

For his part, the President Mugosa, Patrick Sseremba, despite sharp criticism from the students, insisted that there is no option other than going with the new directive.

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

Every semester, government-sponsored students receive money meant to cater for their meals and accommodation. Those who eat lunch from the university get about Shs 630,000 while those who do not take any meal get Shs770,000.

At Makerere, when a new academic year starts, students on government scholarship register for this allowance. After this registration that normally lasts three weeks, the university disburses the money.

However, for the second semester, no registration would be required. Students would return to campus and wait for about three weeks before receiving LOA, a process that has been abruptly changed.

But Tamale said that the students should not worry because the money is already on the university’s account and once the mobile money numbers are received, it will be sent immediately.

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.

Every semester, government-sponsored students receive money meant to cater for their meals and accommodation. Those who eat lunch from the university get about Shs 630,000 while those who do not take any meal get Shs770,000.

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