The Bank of Uganda (BoU)

Bank of Uganda is a winner of the 2015 Uganda Sustainable Development Award and accredited Uganda's Top50 Sustainable Development Agencies in recognition and appreciation of its enormous contribution towards social-economic development of Uganda and attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Uganda. Awarded and Accredited by Public Opinions International

The Bank of Uganda (BoU) is the Central Bank of the Republic of Uganda. It was opened on the 15th  August 1966. It is 100% owned by the Government of Uganda but it is not a government Department.  Bank of Uganda conducts all its activities in close association with the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development(MoFPED).

Bank of Uganda is responsible for monetary policy and maintaining price stability.

Mission of Bank of Uganda

To foster price stability and a sound financial system.

Vision of Bank of Uganda

To be a centre of excellence in upholding macroeconomic stability.

The Bank of Uganda conducts all its activities with the aim of fulfing itsMission.  These activities are carried out under the mandate of the Bank of Uganda Act, 2000 and other legislature.

The Bank's core activities are:

  • Issuance of Uganda's national currency/legal tender, the Uganda Shilling (UGX) 
  • Regulation of money supply through  Monetary Policy 
  • Banker to the Government of Uganda 
  • Banker to Commercial Banks
  • Supervision and regulation of Financial Institutions
  • Management of the country's external/foreign reserves
  • Management of Uganda's external debt
  • Adviser of  Government on financial and economic issues

The Bank  also has  responsibility to the public and this is  fulfilled through its Corporate Social  Responsibility programs

Monetary Policy

Overview

The primary policy objective of the Bank of Uganda’s monetary policy is to hold annual core inflation to a medium term target of 5 percent. A secondary policy objective of monetary policy is to ensure that real output is as close as possible to the economy’s potential level. 

In July 2011, the Bank of Uganda reformed its monetary policy framework to meet the challenges of macroeconomic management generated by the transformation of the economy over the last 10 years, and in particular the rapid growth and diversification of the financial system. The reform entailed the introduction of an inflation targeting lite (ITL) monetary policy framework, which replaced the previous framework which involved the targeting of monetary aggregates.

Under the ITL monetary policy framework, the Bank of Uganda sets a policy interest rate, called the Central Bank Rate (CBR), which is intended to guide short-term inter-bank lending rates and thereby influence the marginal cost of funds for commercial banks. The BOU uses regular interventions in the money market to ensure that the 7 day interbank rate is as close as possible to the CBR.

The CBR is the operating target of monetary policy. It is set once every two months and is publicly announced, at a press briefing held immediately after the rate setting meeting, so that it clearly signals the stance of monetary policy during the month. The CBR is set at a level which is consistent with achieving the policy objectives of monetary policy.

Financial Stability

Bank of Uganda's Role

The global financial crisis demonstrated the disastrous effects of systemic risk to the stability of the financial system. Bank of Uganda’s mission is to “foster price stability and a sound financial system”. The Central Bank’s role in ensuring financial stability includes the following;

  • Formulating macroprudential policies aimed at mitigating systemic risks to the Ugandan financial system;
  • Undertaking continuous financial sector surveillance to identify potential systemic risks and conducting stress tests to determine the resilience of the system to plausible shocks and disruptions;
  • Oversight of payment systems;
  • Ensuring a good level of preparedness to manage a financial crisis. The Bank has developed a crisis preparedness and management framework as well as different types of support measures.
  • The supervision and regulation of individual supervised financial institutions (commercial banks, credit institutions, microfinance deposit taking institutions, foreign exchange bureau and credit reference bureau) to ensure safe and sound financial institutions.
  • Enhancing the efficiency of financial markets.

Financial Markets

About Financial Markets

Financial Markets in Uganda

Bank of Uganda issued a 5 year Financial Markets Development Plan 2008-2012.

1. The Forex market

At present the forex market has the following participants: 1. The Bank of Uganda 2. The inter-bank market (where commercial banks trade with each other). 3. The Forex Bureaux (that act as money shops) 4. Retail customers or end users of forex

Foreign exchange policies in Uganda over the years:

Prior to 1993 Uganda had a controlled foreign exchange regime and a wide variety of foreign exchange policies under this period. They were as follows:

1966-1971

A par value of 0.124414gram of gold per Uganda shilling was maintained.

1971-1975

The Uganda shilling was pegged to the dollar at a rate of Shs. 7.14286

1975-1980

The shilling was pegged to the SDR at Shs. 9.66 due to volatility of the dollar.

1981

The shilling was floated. This saw the rate drop to Uganda shillings 76.97 to a dollar form Shs.8.1453

1982

A dual exchange rate regime was introduced and foreign exchange was auctioned through a system known as Window 1 and Window 2. Window 1 was for financing priority imports and the rate was determined daily taking into account the value of the dollar against other currencies and the economic conditions in the country. Window 2 was for financing non-priority imports

1986

The auction system was replaced by allocation based on a rate of Shs.1470 to a dollar. That same year the dual exchange rate was re-introduced at a fixed rate of Shs. 1400 to a dollar.

1987

In May 1987 the shilling was devalued by 66% from shs. 14 to 60. This was after the currency reform.

1990

Forex Bureaus were introduced.

2. Domestic Financial markets

The Domestic Financial Markets have the following markets; < h4>a. The Securities Market In this market government securities are traded. They include Treasury bills and Treasury Bonds. These make the following markets: 1. The Treasury Bill Primary Market 2. The Treasury Bill Secondary Market 3. The Treasury Bond Primary Market 4. The Treasury Bond Secondary Market

Functions of Securities markets

They support monetary policy implementation by providing an instrument of liquidity management. < h4>b. The Repurchase Agreements (Repo) Market Repos were introduced to manage intra-auction liquidity variations. The vertical repo market reflects repo transactions between primary dealer commercial banks and the central bank. This market was introduced in 2002 by the Bank of Uganda as a mechanism to deal with managing liquidity in the banking system in the interval between auctions of treasury bills. These REPOs are auctioned in a Repo Market. < h4>c. The Capital markets This is where financial instruments for raising capital are traded. It involves long term banking. Instruments like stocks are bonds are traded in this market.

The development of capital markets in Uganda

In 1994 Bank of Uganda chaired the Capital Markets Development Committee (CMDC), which was comprised of stakeholders of capital market interests from financial markets, industry and government. The CMDC oversaw the introduction of the Capital Markets Statute 1996 which introduced the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and made provision for the licensing of the Uganda Securities Exchange. THE CMDC works with Government to adopt a strategy of privatizing parastatals by listing the m on the Stock Exchange. Currently there are over 7 companies listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange.

Types of Treasury bills used in Uganda

1. The Bearer Treasury Bills Certificates

Were used in the market earlier. They did not activate secondary market trading because of their security risk.

2. The book-entry Central Depository System (CDS)

To counteract the safety concerns regarding the bearer treasury bill certificates in 1999 the Bank introduced the electronic registry of investors in government securities called the book-entry Central Depository System or CDS. The CDS solved the problems of transferring ownership of the securities but introduced a new problem that the laws of Uganda were written so that a security had to be in paper form and the Courts did not recognize electronic securities.. To solve the problem, the

Financial Accountability Act of 2003

gave the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and Planning powers to issue securities both in paper and electronic form. Paper treasury bills were discontinued. Treasury Bills securities can be for 91 days, 182 days and 364 days in the primary market.

Secondary market in Treasury bills

The treasury bills auctions were held weekly to start with. To stimulate the development of secondary market trading, the Bank of Uganda changed the auction from being weekly to being fortnightly. This strategy aimed at extending the interval between auctions as a way of providing a greater incentive for investors to source the supply of treasury bills in the secondary market.

Primary Dealer ranking system

It was introduced in 2005 by the Bank of Uganda. It is an incentive to enhance primary dealer performance. The winner of this prestigious award is announced every month. It is a catalyst for stimulating secondary market trading of government securities.

The Treasury Bond market

Auctions for Treasury Bonds were introduced in January 2005. Treasury Bonds are auctioned every 28 days. The bonds support monetary policy implementation by improving liquidity management and promoting market development. These securities also assist in providing a framework for pricing of securities in the secondary market. Bonds have also provided an additional saving instrument and have deepened the capital market.

Bond Tenure

Treasury bonds have the following tenures: 2 years, 3 years, 5 years and 10 years.
 

Supervision

Overview

Bank of Uganda is mandated to supervise Financial Institutions, through the Supervision Function, by the following legislation:
The Supervision Acts and Regulations
The Intervention Policy by Government of Uganda 1997
There are different financial institutions supervised by Bank of Uganda, grouped under: commercial banks and non-bank financial institutions.

1. Commercial Banks

The Bank conducts full on-site examination of all commercial banks using a risk-based supervision methodology.
During the year 2004/2005 the Bank commenced the deployment of the Bank Supervision Application (BSA) following successful deployment in ten (10) other countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa region.
The Financial Institutions Act 2004 (Fin Amendment Act 2016) provides for various mandatory Prompt Corrective Actions which the Bank must undertake to correct weaknesses in the financial institutions before they escalate to unacceptable levels.

2. Non-Bank Financial Institutions

The non-bank financial institutions supervised by the Bank of Uganda are:
1. Credit Institutions Micro-finance
2. Micro Finance Deposit-taking Institutions
3. Forex Bureaux
4. Money Remitters

Annual Supervision Reports

Statistics

Overview

This page contains time series of statistics categorized according to the four macroeconomic accounts:  external sector, monetary and financial sector, fiscal sector and real sector.

The monetary and financial sector consists of statistics on the assets and liabilities of all depository corporations (Bank of Uganda, commercial banks, credit institutions and microfinance deposit taking institutions), indicators of financial soundness, interest rates and exchange rates.

The external sector comprises of statistics on international trade, balance of payments and the international investment position.

Price indices and the national accounts are the components of the real sector category. The components of this category are produced by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

Links are provided to government finance statistics and national accounts from the respective sources.  

Any queries on the statistics should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Financial Inclusion

Overview

Strengthening Financial Inclusion is one of the initiatives in Bank of Uganda’s Strategic Plan 2012 to 2017.  Bank of Uganda is in the process of implementing various initiatives to improve financial inclusion in Uganda as a response to financial innovations, gaps in financial education, financial consumer protection issues, opportunities in the context of financial innovations, financial deepening issues as well as issues of access and quality of financial services.

On the supply side, despite the growth of the financial sector over the last decade, access to formal financial services still remains relatively limited. This is particularly the case in rural areas, where a significant proportion of services are delivered by informal or semi-formal providers, with limited linkages to the formal financial sector. In recent years, technological innovation has begun to provide unprecedented opportunities to rapidly and sustainably advance financial inclusion. Enabling regulatory solutions are necessary to ensure that innovations can thrive in a sustainable and safe manner.

On the demand side, where people lack the skills or the information to make informed financial decisions, those people are prevented from unlocking their full economic potential and are much more vulnerable to financial shocks. This also prevents growth in the financial markets as (potential) consumers do not take up financial products or are more likely to default on their loans.    

These challenges require well-balanced and targeted responses. Without stifling innovation, Bank of Uganda aims to provide appropriate responses to these challenges – by creating an enabling environment as well as guidance and support to stakeholders engaged in the financial sector, so that financial inclusion activities can thrive.

To this end, Bank of Uganda has established the Financial Inclusion Project under the leadership of Supervision Function. The Financial Inclusion Project is built upon four pillars:

Bank of Uganda is a member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion  and a signatory to the Maya Declaration

Some Figures on Financial Inclusion in Uganda 

Table 1: Financial Services Usage/1

  2006 (%) 2009 (%)
Financial Services Usage 57 72
    Formal 28 29
    Informal 29 43
Financial Services Usage by Location    
    Urban-formal 35 47
    Urban-informal 13 25
    Rural-formal 17 22
    Rural-informal 18 47
Banked 18 22
    Urban 30 38
    Rural 14 15

1/Percentage of the population aged 18 and above

Table 2: Financial Services Penetration/2

Year No. of Access Points Access Points per 10,000 adults  (National)
  Branches ATMs Branches ATMs Total
2008 402 405 0.28 0.27 0.55
2009 485 536 0.31 0.34 0.65
2010 497 628 0.31 0.38 0.7
2011 597 663 0.35 0.39 0.74
2012 631 748 0.36 0.42 0.79

2/Bank of Uganda Supervised Financial Institutions

More information is available here.

Payment Systems

Overview

Payment systems refer to the rules, procedures, and mechanisms for transferring money between two or more financial institutions and their customers.

A national payment system is one of the principal components of a country’s monetary and financial system and is, therefore, crucial to a country’s economic development, since almost all economic transactions involve some form of payment.

Payment and settlement systems thus play a crucial role in a market economy, and central banks have always had a close interest in them as part of their responsibilities for monetary and financial stability. In light of this, Bank of Uganda provides a wide range of payment services for authorized financial institutions and the Uganda Government to facilitate the circulation of money in the economy.

National Payment System Department (NPSD) was created in 1998 to develop an effective, efficient and secure national payment system.

A properly functioning payments system among other things ensures distribution of liquidity in all sectors of the economy and allows transactions to be completed safely and on time.

Well-designed and managed payment systems help to maintain financial stability by preventing or containing financial crises, and help to reduce the cost and uncertainty of settlement, which could otherwise act as an impediment to economic activity. Payment and settlement systems therefore are to economic activity as roads are to traffic.

Consequently, an efficient payment system enhances the smooth and fast flow of funds for payment of goods and services.
Today, the emphasis is on electronic transactions with higher velocity.

Banking & Currency

Overview

Banking Department

BOU fulfills three of its eleven functions through the Banking Department.

These functions are carried out under the mandate of the Bank of Uganda Act 2000 section 4(2) namely:

(i) 4(2)(d) be the banker to the Government

(ii) 4(2)(h) be the banker to financial institutions

(iii) 4(2)(i) be the clearing house for cheques and other financial instruments for financial institutions.

Department Mission

To provide excellent banking and clearing services to our customers.

 

Currency Department

Bank of Uganda has the sole right to issue bank notes and coins in the country; thus it shall be the only legal tender in Uganda. Its key role is to also gain and maintain public confidence in the currency. Subsequently, Currency department is responsible in the designing and ordering of banknotes and coins to meet the country’s demand; this is one of the main functions of the department. Bank of Uganda is also a banker for commercial banks and the government. It provides a safe and convenient place to store money and also maintain minimum reserves requirements.

Currency Management

The Department has an objective to ensure that clean money policy is achieved by making sure that all regions are supplied by clean banknotes and coins. The Bank has nine branches namely Kampala, Jinja, Mbale, Mbarara, Masaka, Fortportal, Kabale, Gulu and Arua. Bank of Uganda Head Quarters is in Kampala where the Bank supplies clean banknotes and coins while the collected unserviceable currencies are destroyed.

It is the responsibility of the department to ensure that there is always an adequate stock of banknotes and coins available in all denominations and that there is a good distribution system to reach the various sectors of the Ugandan economy.

Reproducing Currency

It must be noted that the circulation and printing of banknotes is the responsibility of Bank of Uganda. The law grants the Bank the exclusive right to issue banknotes. The Bank is also the holder of the copyright thereto. Counterfeiting and even possession of counterfeit banknotes are punishable by law.

 

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