MTN Uganda sharply increased levies on fund transfers between mobile money accounts and banks, a move slammed by critics for its impact on financial inclusion, Daily Monitor reported.

The newspaper said MTN Money charges on the transfers increased by between 33 per cent and 66 per cent depending on the transaction value, a fee an MTN representative said had been implemented to align the service with “current market conditions”.

MTN’s move was slated by the Uganda Bankers Association and Rashmi Pillai, programme director of not-for-profit organisation Financial Sector Deepening Uganda, which both anticipated a negative impact on financial inclusion.

The fees are a further blow to mobile money users in the country, who were hit by the introduction of taxes on selected transactions from the government in 2018. However, transfers to banks and deposits are exempt from the government levy.

Transaction values in the country fell following the introduction of the taxes.