E-commerce platforms urged to ensure real time settlements.

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Our Reporter.

Electronic commerce platforms have been urged to settle financial obligations they have with partner businesses on the same day to enable them have sufficient cash flows to keep them afloat.

Speaking during the fintech Landscape exhibition at Sheraton Kampala Hotel, Damali Ssali, a trade development expert said that small businesses rely on daily sales to keep their business afloat and thus should be paid the same day.

It should be noted that while there are a number of financial technology companies that sell different goods to online buyers, they do not own the items they sell; they instead source them from third parties such as small businesses and deliver them to their clients, who either pay the fintech via mobile money or cash on delivery.

Ssali said that most times the small business owners operate on a small capital base and that when it takes several days to get paid, it constrains their ability to keep in business.

“Make timely payments to that woman in a market who has supplied the tomatoes which you have delivered to your client because that person is the most vulnerable in the entire value chain. They should not be exploited by the big players because they have to restock, feed their families and also have to serve other customers,” Ssali said.

Ssali also noted that international best practices dictate that a good e-commerce environment should be able to settle the liability of the person at the end of transaction on that same day.

The Jumia Food country manager, Timothy Mugume said the company understands well the value of same day settlement and does it religiously to enable its partners continue running businesses and continue supplying them and other customers.

Mugume noted that there are immense opportunities in e-commerce. He noted that online payments have grown tremendously during the ovid-19 pandemic crisis as people shifted to online purchases due to social distancing and lockdown measures.

The Head of payments at Safe Boda, Nicholas Kamanzi, also said that the ride-hailing firm does same day settlements because these small businesses need money to restock and continue operating.

He noted that previously, they could pay after a few days but they realised that the businesses needed money the same day and thus adjusted.

The Lusuku (garden online) founder and CEO Medhi Matovu alluded to the huge opportunity presented by Covid-19, saying that players need to focus on changing people’s attitudes towards e-commerce platforms to enable it play a meaningful transformative role in society.

The Information and Communication Technology minister, Hon Judith Nabakooba alluded to how the pandemic has fastened the adoption of e-commerce, saying that a multitude of transactions are increasingly being conducted electronically due to social distancing and lockdown measures.

She urged providers of digital financial services to seize the available opportunities to produce more products and services so as to eliminate any existing gaps.

Nabakooba said that the current situation presents numerous opportunities for prepared fintechs and other related technology service providers.

She noted that as people get used to the new normal, the uptake of e-services is bound to increase.

Exhibition

The fintech landscape exhibition sought to mark the end of the 40-days-40-fintechs project, which was organised by HiPipo, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation.

The engaged fintechs were equipped with interoperability skills, using Mojaloop, a switching platform with a centralised service that brings together digital financial service providers to help boost financial inclusion in Africa.

The HiPipo CEO, Innocent Kawooya said the successful execution of the 40-days-40-fintechs project, is expected to change the way financial inclusion is done in the world, transform millions of lives in years to come and change the way financial inclusion will be done in Uganda going forward.

He pledged that HiPipo will continue advocating for a level playing field for all fintechs across Africa to thrive.