BoU Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile. COURTESY PHOTO

Bank of Uganda (BoU) has advised customers of Africell Uganda to pick their mobile money balances from Stanbic Bank as the telecom company ceased its operations in Uganda on Thursday, 07 October 2021.

Africell has been offering mobile money services in partnership with Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited, with the approval of Bank of Uganda.

Hence BoU says former Africell customers should approach Stanbic Bank Uganda with the necessary identification documents.

“All Africell mobile money customers are advised to approach Stanbic Bank with their identification details and an alternative phone number or bank account to which payment shall be made,” BoU said in a statement on Thursday, 07 October 2021.

Africell was renowned for offering affordable data packages.

It added that Stanbic Bank shall pay the beneficiaries over a period of ninety (90) days with effect from October 8, 2021.

“After the expiry of this period, the details of any unpaid beneficiaries and the respective amounts shall be transferred to Bank of Uganda. Africell subscribers can obtain guidance from Stanbic Branches across the country,” BoU said.

“Thereafter, any customer claims shall be submitted together with supporting identifi-cation details to the Office of the Director, National Payment Systems Department, Bank of Uganda, P.O. Box 7120, Kampala. Bank of Uganda assures the public that it will continue to safeguard the stability and integrity of the financial sector,” it added.

In September, Uganda Communications Commission tasked Africell to pay its creditors and submit a status report of the company’s accumulated debt and liabilities to the regulator, at least 30 days before the agreed exit date.

A big chunk of its debt is unpaid interconnection fees that the company owes other operators, MTN and Airtel, as well as some of the smaller telecoms in the market.

The other significant portion of the debt is its unpaid user levies to American Tower Company and Eaton Towers, the main telecoms network operators who in 2019 threatened to disconnect Africell over unpaid arrears amounting to billions of shillings.