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UCC directs vendors to return unused scratch cards for electronic airtime refund

Scratch/Voucher cards to be converted to electronic airtime as UCC phases-out airtime cards effective July 31 (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA Uganda Communications Commission after phasing out airtime scratch cards on Tuesday July 31, the commission has confirmed that unused cards will be converted into electronic airtime to avoid vendors from making losses.

In a notice issued Wednesday August 1, UCC said that “airtimes cards still in possession of vendors or individuals should be returned to an authorized dealer of the telecommunication operator for an electronic airtime refund of equal value,”

Addressing parliament Tuesday July 31, ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze said telecom and mobile operators have already put in place systems to facilitate conversion of any unutilized scratch cards into electronic airtime.

” Through this system, no customer will lose money; they will be refunded for any unutilized airtime cards,” he said.

He further told parliament that UCC and the security agencies recommended to Government that vending of airtime cards was directly linked to the selling of illegally registered Sim Cards and would facilitate airtime recharge and top-ups manually without any digital tracing.

“The use of electronic recharge systems was therefore recommended as the most viable and secure option, with so many other attendant advantages,” he said adding that vendors who have been selling the paper version of airtime scratch cards have been given the opportunity to sell the same airtime in a digital format using an ordinary phone as a tool of trade, and have been duly registered by the telecom operators.

Mr IBrahim Bossa, the consumer affairs manager at UCC said that the commission has visited a sample of 186 outlets in 37 districts around the country and on the progress to adopt Electronic Airtime selling.

He explained that 99 percent of vendors that UCC visited during the survey were already selling electronic airtime.
UCC said also said from August 1, all telecommunication operators will adhere to dispensation of airtime through electronic platforms such as Mobile Money, PayWay among others.

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