By Ahmed Sseguya
PostBank has opened collection centres for the payment of COVID-19 Testing fees at Entebbe International Airport.
The bank was recently appointed to oversee the collection of COVID-19 testing fees, following its readiness to efficiently handle digital payments. The collection centres are intended to allow passengers travelling into Uganda pay for COVID-19 related testing fees.
This comes weeks after the government announced mandatory COVID-19 testing for all passengers entering the country. Government said that all passengers arriving in Uganda would be required to take a COVID-19 test or be in possession of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival or have evidence of vaccination.
COVID-19 testing has largely been a challenge with travellers required to pay varying sums at different testing facilities. Some people have had to pay as much as $65 while others have paid at multiple points to access testing services.
While speaking to the media, Julius Kakeeto, the Managing Director at PostBank, said that it is important that such a service which seeks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, is accessed at an affordable price.
“Our mandate is to ease access to COVID-19 testing services in the most appropriate way. Therefore, travellers will be required to pay thirty dollars (USD 30) or one hundred and ten thousand shillings (UGX. 110,000),” he noted, stressing that PostBank is committed to providing affordable and sustainable financial solutions to transform the lives and livelihoods of Ugandans.
“Travelers will make OTC (Over the Counter) payments through cash and Point of Sale (POS) terminals. We have also established an online payment platform that accommodates mobile money and card payment options to ease the process,” he asserted adding that, “With the guidance of our onsite staff, the process will be swift and convenient,” he concluded.
During the launch of the collection centres in Entebbe, Mr George Williams Kiyingi, the Manager Grants & Partnerships at PostBank, said that the bank is honoured to be part of initiatives that positively contribute to the wellbeing and safety of all Ugandans.
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on lives, businesses and other sections of life has been far reaching, changing how we have been operating on a day-to-day basis. However, with the opening of these collection centres that will ease access to COVID-19 testing services, we are guaranteed of everyone’s safety and a gradual return to the normal way of life,” he remarked.
Kiyingi revealed that PostBank has established three collection points at the airport. These points are at the swabbing area for tourists, the VIP swabbing area for VIPs and the waiting area for ordinary passengers, to enable all travellers transact in a safe, efficient, and reliable manner.
Kiyingi also appreciated the government for the trust it has always put in PostBank, saying, “We have confidence that we shall, as always, do this task with utmost fulfillment for our customers and for the government that has trusted us to deliver services to Ugandans.”
Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja, applauded PostBank for supporting government programmes, stating that multilateral efforts are required to curb coronavirus that has ravaged the economy.
“We have to fight this battle together. A single COVID-19 test goes a long way in saving lives, therefore let’s get tested so that we can get back to our normal way of life. I commend PostBank for always availing us with reliable financial solutions,” she said.
PostBank, which currently has a customer base of more than 1 million people, has been involved in a number of initiatives intended to uplift Ugandans many of whom were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Uganda confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in March 2020 before government announced a lockdown that ended in June the same year and a subsequent one in June this year.
Government, under the Ministry of Health, has since launched several campaigns, among which include mandatory testing, especially for travellers, as a way to minimize the spread of COVID-19 which has had adverse effects on Ugandans and the economy at large.