KAMPALA – The Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija has revealed that the Governor of the Central Bank, Emmanuel Mutebile is clueless about what cryptocurrency is, something that has left him spending sleepless nights worried about how Uganda Revenue Authority will lay its hands on this form of digital currency.
Kasaija made the shocking revelation Wednesday 27 while addressing guests at the 4th Annual Economic Summit organized by NTV Uganda and the Ministry of Finance held at Kampala Serena Hotel today.
The Minister described digital taxation as a challenge saying the rate at which the world is moving, those who aren’t familiar with technology will be left completely lost, saying Uganda need to increase emphasis on science.
Kasaija said, “The other time we were talking about cryptocurrency, money moving in air, nobody knows it, nobody controls it. I asked Mutebile do you know anything, he said I don’t know. It is a new challenge, we may laugh about it but it’s a real big problem. Many things are taking place without the knowledge of Government. When I mentioned that thing, the President said I am worried for nothing, I am worried because of my tax people at URA may miss many things without catching people and yet money has changed hands.”
The development comes at the time Minister Kasaija warned Ugandans against investing in cryptocurrencies, saying the government does not recognize them and citizens who invest their money in the scheme won’t have the government to blame if they end up losing their funds.
A Cryptocurrency is a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank of any country. This implies that anonymous people are in control of the system handling this digital currency.
At the moment, there are tens of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum, Ripple (XRP), and Bitcoin Cash. In developed countries, there are machines where one can mine these coins and get hard cash, which is not the case for Uganda.
While addressing journalists in September 2019, Kasaija described cryptocurrencies as a fraud and no Ugandan should spend their money adding that this form of currency is exposed to risks, including fraud, and the fact that they are not backed by any assets makes it a high-risk venture.
While holding a Town Hall meeting held at Masaka to engage the public on activities of the Central Bank, Dr. Louis Kasekende the Deputy Governor at the Bank of Uganda also warned Ugandans against cryptocurrencies saying at the moment, there were no regulations on the use of online cryptocurrency and it is risky to start using them.
Kasekende was quoted saying, “Let me state clearly that the online cryptocurrency businesses are not regulated at the moment and therefore carry a significant risk of loss of savings, with no recourse to protection or insurance by government, like is the case with regulated financial institutions such as commercial banks.”
A Cryptocurrency is a form of digital money; it is associated with the Internet using codes for purchases, transfers, and money online. The first cryptocurrency was bitcoin which was created in 2009, since then several of them have been created.