In collaboration with various Ugandan TV and radio stations and critical players in the digital economy, Next Media has today launched a new CSR campaign to sensitize Ugandans on financial literacy, fraud prevention, and the protection of digital income.
The rolling out of this drive follows the growth in digital consumption of technology that has gone up by up to 76% of the Ugandan population becoming digital natives; consuming digital financial services for transactions, making anyone prone to digital fraud.
Digital fraud is a growing concern costing Ugandans billions of shillings, with estimates having the figure near the UGX 100 billion mark in 2022 alone.
Through “Beera Steady – Be Better,” solutions to help Ugandans protect and multiply their financial resources, particularly those in the digital realm, will be the key focus.
The behavioral change campaign is to run for 2 years, and will utilize the collective resources of key industry players, including MTN Uganda, Airtel Uganda, Equity Bank Uganda, the Uganda Bankers’ Association, the Uganda Communications Commission, the Bank of Uganda, the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, and other partners.
It is also additionally aimed at empowering individuals with the correct information to take control of their financial future and make informed decisions that will enable them to achieve their financial goals.
“We are excited to launch the ‘Beera Steady- Be Better’ campaign as part of our commitment to Inform to Transform our motherland. This is a two-year behavioural change campaign here to make Ugandans better on the financial literacy front. Now that we are using digital money, how do we work together to secure it?”, remarked Kin Kariisa, the Group CEO of Next Media while speaking at the launch of the campaign. He added that as a media group, they are to work with the Bank of Uganda to train all their on air and off air talents to be able to relay these messages of preventing fraud before (at the start) and at the close of their various shows, including news bulletins. These will be issues with certificates having completed these series of trainings.
Adding to his voice, Anthony Kituuka, the Managing Director of Equity Bank Uganda, commented on the campaign, saying, “We cannot deny that we are in a digital economy. Therefore, it is upon us to ensure the safety of money. “Beera Steady – Be Better” is here to teach our customers and the economy to Be Better and steady.” He went ahead to say that as a Bank, their participation in this campaign is their response to the many recent fraud cases and backlash they have been receiving online.
“In the past, robbers used to come with guns to the branch, now they go online. The same way you don’t pre-sign cheques, please keep your PINs safe”, Anthony Kituuka cautioned.
The CEO of telecommunications giant MTN Uganda Sylvia Mulinge; emphasized the importance of customer participation in this fight against fraudsters encouraging them to play their role of protecting their PINs, and jealously safeguarding them and them as a telecom, they will easily serve them and together would be an unstoppable force. “If we do “Beera Steady – Be Better” together and do it well, we shall be unstoppable in ensuring the safety and trust of our customers.”, she said.
Wilbrod Owor, the ED of the Uganda Bankers’ Association, also supported the campaign, saying, “These days, fraud is a full-time business and undermines the economy. Coming together on “Beera Steady – Be Better” to work against it is very important. This will build trust, support digital adoption, and that’s the future… Money has evolved from cowrie shells to gold to digital currency, which is the now and future. This needs to be protected and safeguarded.”
Colonel Emmanuel Katabazi, the Deputy Director General of the Internal Security Organisation and Chair of the Cyber Security Task Force, remarked, “The Minister of Security about a month ago launched our task force on cyber security. On behalf of the Cyber Security Task Force, we are committed to ensuring the digital space is safe and everybody is steady.”
Eng. Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo, the Ag. ED of the Uganda Communications Commission, reiterated the importance of the campaign, saying, “The ‘Beera Steady – Be Better’ campaign is a timely initiative that will help Ugandans navigate the increasingly digital landscape and protect their financial resources. We are slowly going to a cashless economy, and if we want to be part of the national social transformation process, we need to be armed with the correct information.”
Mackay Aomu, the Director National Payments Systems at the Bank of Uganda, said, “I am pleased that “Beera Steady – Be Better” is aligned with the Bank of Uganda mandate; promoting sound financial systems in support of social-economic transformation that is achieved in many ways.”
Dr. Aminah Zawedde, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, also expressed her support for the campaign, saying, “I appreciate that the private sector and media houses have come together so that we speak to the public as one. Transforming the economy involves transforming everyone from the grassroots up. Let’s “Beera Steady – Be Better”!”
Hon. Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance and Guest of Honour at the launch, added, “Our mandate as the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance is to take the lead in the digital transformation of Uganda. We are more than eager to get involved and spread this message across the country, and “Beera Steady – Be Better” is a great vehicle for this.”