Ugandans Abroad want More Investment Options for Kyeyo Money

2499 Views Kampala, Uganda
Ugandans in the Diaspora want the Bank of Uganda to create financial instruments that will allow them to save money at home. This week, the Ugandans in the Diaspora are meeting various government technocrats and politicians in Kampala to discuss how they can increase their contribution to the country's development. The Bank of Uganda predicts will receive 2.2 trillion shillings from citizens working abroad. Patrick Ayota, the former chairperson of the East Africa America Business Council, says there should be creative ways to invest and save this money. Ayota gives the example of India where the government created special non-resident accounts to receive remittances. He says a similar financial instrument will encourage long-term saving from Ugandans abroad. //Cue in: "What the government of India did ..." Cue out: "... Indian accounts."// Patrick Ayota says many Ugandans in the Diaspora want to invest in public development projects, but cannot do so without institutional backing. Ida Horner, a Ugandan who has lived in the United Kingdom for more than 40 years, agrees. Horner is the proprietor of Ethnic Supplies, a company that exports African handicrafts made by lower-income women. She says she would love to invest her savings in viable public-private development. Horner says that although she is still cautious about investing in government institutions, it is a more viable option to sending money back home to meet relatives' daily needs. //Cue in: "We send ..." Cue out: "... of the sort."// Dr. David Kihangire, Bank of Uganda's research director, says the current conditions in Uganda are conducive the community in the Diaspora. He says that since the foreign exchange market was liberalized, Ugandans are free to open local savings and current accounts. //Cue in: "The philosophy is ..." Cue out: "... as you want."// Kihangire says planning for additional financial instruments is hard because a large bulk of remittances enter the country informally. He says many Ugandans abroad are reluctant to provide information on how much money they send home every year. ###