Commencement of Local Currency Printing in Uganda Set for Next Year

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The printing of Uganda currency notes locally is poised to begin next year with the completion of a printing factory in Entebbe, according to information obtained by a local newspaper. The development stems from a joint venture agreement inked on June 11, 2016, involving Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPCL), the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the Office of the President, and the consortium of Veridos GmbH and Giesecke and Devrient GmbH. This collaboration aimed at producing various security documents, including banknotes, passports, national IDs, and cheques.

While the UPPCL factory near Uganda Railways headquarters in Kampala currently handles the printing of national IDs and cheques, the printing of currency notes awaits the completion of the new facility in Entebbe, reportedly at 70% completion. An anonymous UPPCL official revealed plans for the installation of specialized machines for currency note production after the factory’s completion. However, the official noted that all raw materials used for document production are imported from Europe, contributing to the process’s expense.

The Auditor General, in a report to Parliament for the Financial Year ended June 30, 2022, expressed concerns about potential monopolies arising from the joint venture. The report highlighted exclusive supplier arrangements for raw materials, semi-finished products, and machinery, posing a risk of contract locking and manipulation due to monopoly. The Auditor General defined vendor lock-in as a strategy that could make customers dependent on a vendor’s products and services, potentially leading to compatibility issues with other providers.

President Yoweri Museveni, during the signing of the agreement, criticized the unjustified expenditure of about $25 million annually on printing Ugandan currency abroad. The move toward local printing aligns with efforts to reduce this financial drain and establish self-sufficiency in currency production.

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