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In regard to the recent developments regarding COVID-19, URSB has put in place measures to protect staff and clients against the spread of the pandemic in accordance with guidelines from the Ministry of Health and H.E the President of the Republic of Uganda.




Published: April 1, 2020

Published in Latest News
Wednesday, 02 October 2019 09:25

Uganda delegation attends 2019 WIPO Conference


Uganda delegation led by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Hon. Maj Gen. Kahinda Otafiire joined other delegates from the World Intellectual Property’s  192 member states to consider a range of work on issues related to Intellectual Property, the bedrock for economic policy in a globalized, technology-driven world.

Decisions taken by Member State delegates at the WIPO Assemblies bolster the global intellectual property (IP) framework, the future of innovation and creativity and WIPO’s role in promoting the economic, social & cultural development of all countries.

The Uganda delegation emphasized that in a globalized economy, WIPO will continue to play an important role in achieving balanced rules of intellectual property protection, and noted that Uganda will continue to invest in the use of IP to realize the national development goals.


Source: Bemanya Twebaze (via LinkedIn)


Published: Oct. 2 2019

Published in Latest News


By Bemanya Twebaze


Uganda’s success in the knowledge-based economy is critically dependent on effective mechanisms for nurturing innovation and creativity.

On May 27, Cabinet approved the National Intellectual Property Policy to establish an appropriate infrastructure that supports innovation and creativity, develop human capital for the IP value chain, and enhance the utilisation of the IP system.

The value of IP is founded in its contribution towards the development and sustainable exploitation of human ingenuity and creativity.

Trademarks, geographical indications, industrial designs, patents, copyright, and trade secrets can all significantly contribute to enhancing innovation and creativity. The Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) is the National Intellectual Property Office of Uganda and is the office in charge of administering the intellectual property laws.


IP for development

The history of intellectual property (IP) in Uganda dates back to pre-independence when the country inherited the British IP System. For example, the first trademark was registered in 1913 under Britain’s Patents, Designs and Trademarks Ordinance of 1912.

Since then we have witnessed growth in IP registrations and grants through various IP legislations (The Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act 2006, The Trade Secrets Protection Act 2009, The Trademarks Act No.17 of 2010, The Geographical Indications Act 2013, and The Industrial Property Act 2014).

While significant progress has been made in the generation and protection of IP assets, very little has been done with respect to the commercialisation of IP assets. The level of commercialisation of literary works, audio-visual works (e.g. films and music), visual and creative arts through copyright and related IP assets in creative and cultural industries is also disproportionately low.

The extent to which the IP assets are currently exploited in both public and private sectors remains highly constrained, in spite of the Government of Uganda acknowledging intellectual property (IP) as an essential prerequisite for sustainable development.


Business growth through IP

The relevance of IP in promoting sustainable wealth creation, employment creation, and inclusive growth is ingrained in the increasing relevance of IP to key sectors of the national economy, such as agriculture, trade, and industry, science, technology and innovation, ICT, health, tourism, culture, environment and labour. The role of IP in “transforming Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country” is rooted in these dynamic sectors of the economy involving knowledge-intensive activities that are contributing to accelerated scientific, technological, innovative and creative advances.

As Uganda transitions towards a knowledge-based economy, these and other sectors will all progressively depend on access to and use of IP to generate wealth and social good. The more IP becomes central to socio-economic development and wealth creation, the more it will be elevated as a strategic micro and macro-economic tool for inclusive growth.


National IP policy benefits

The core purpose of this National Intellectual Property (IP) Policy is to provide direction on short, medium and long-term activities and interventions that will enable IP stakeholders effectively work together towards creating, protecting and commercially exploiting research results, innovations, new technologies, and creative works.

The policy, therefore, directs the process of mainstreaming the integration of IP into priority national development policies, strategies, and plans, for purposes of contributing to the accelerated realisation of national development goals. The policy will encourage both public and private sectors to recognise and harness the value of IP for the benefit of all Ugandans.

The realisation of Uganda’s Vision 2040 and the Second National Development Plan (NDPII) remains a crucial target. The policy will catalyse transition from an agrarian to a knowledge-based economy; promote IP as a tool for all-inclusive transformation of academia, creative, informal, public and private sectors of the national economy. The policy has a number of strategies to facilitate the enhancement of innovation and creativity, productivity and competitiveness; knowledge-based skills capacity building, technology transfer, and development as well as wealth and employment creation across all sectors of the national economy.

The policy is, therefore, positioned to provide an enabling environment for stimulating innovation and creativity. This will be through the provision of appropriate infrastructure, technological equipment, technology transfer initiatives, funding, and skills development


Public-private partnerships growth

With the national IP Policy in place, creation of comprehensive public and private institutional IP frameworks for administration, protection, commercialization, and enforcement of IP rights, ensuring delivery of quality IP services to all stakeholders will be easy.

It will also act as a guide for adequate IP legislation that encourages increased innovation and creativity; safeguard the equitable balance of the interests of IP right owners, end-users and the general public. The policy will thus provide a conducive environment for effective IP rights enforcement.

Investment into human resource development to encompass teaching of IP across different levels of education, as well as exposure into IP generation skills is a highlight of the Policy.

Academia and research &development institutions, creative industries, individuals, and other elements of the public and private sector stand to benefit from various incentives through this Policy through the promotion of research and development.


The writer is the Registrar General of the Uganda Registration Services Bureau


Published: September 5 2019

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MUNYONYO - The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) were among winners of the the EGovernment Excellence Awards held at Speke Resort Munyonyo on June 27 2019.

ODPP won the award for Outstanding Web Portal (Information Category) while URSB took home the accolade for Outstanding Sector E-Service Award (Justice, Law Order and Order Sector). The JLOS Secretariat was nominated for the Best Exhibitor Award (2019 EGov Expo) that was won by the Uganda Revenue Authority. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda the Prime Minister was the Chief Guest at the glamorous event. Also present was the Minister for iCT and National Guidance, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze,  the Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development (Investment and Privatization) Hon. Evelyn Anite, members of parliament, representives from the donor community, the academia, the business community, the media and several government officials.




By Edgar Kuhimbisa / Published: June 28 2019

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By Bemanya Twebaze


The use of marks or symbols as a means to identify the source of goods is an old tradition which is attributed to the evolution of trademarks or branding. In today’s dynamic and competitive business environment, branding is not just about putting out symbols, logos and names on various media platforms. It is a gradual process of building an emotional attachment with customers in the market place. 

A business enterprise needs to provide consumers with a memorable positive impression and impactful experience in its brand communication. How a business positions itself in the market place determines its brand value. Branding should be one of the core aspects of a business strategy in order to achieve a competitive edge. The fact that brands create value for a business, they are essential intangible assets which must be protected from infringement.

It is very important to note that until a brand is registered as a trademark, you cannot be certain of ownership. Using an unregistered trademark makes it more susceptible to trademark violation. Although violation is actionable in court, it is more cumbersome to prove unregistered marks than in a case of infringement of a registered trademark.

For a business to avoid costly litigation, it is advisable to register its trademark. This enables adequate control and ownership of a brand to a business. Trademark registration also helps protect one’s business against counterfeits and also compels a business owner to create quality products that reflect the business brand and ensure customer loyalty. 

In Uganda’s economy, trademark registration comes in handy for startups of small and medium enterprises. According to a research done by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and published in August 2018, SME’s account for 90% of the private sector. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have been identified as the engine of growth of the Ugandan economy spread across all sectors such as the service sector, commerce and trade, manufacturing among others. 

Despite their major role in our country’s economy, there are a number of barriers which affect SMEs in doing business including lack of knowledge of opportunities in foreign markets and lack of funds. Part of the problem could also be limited to awareness about the Trademark system amongst the SME’s.

Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) in an effort to mitigate some of the barriers which hamper the growth of SMEs has since engaged small, medium and large players in business through collaboration with Uganda Manufacturers Associations (UMA), Kampala City Trader's Association (KACITA), Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL), Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA) among others, with focus on formalization of businesses through trademark registration. Previously the Trademarks register was filled largely by foreign applications, but during financial years 2016/2017- 2017/2018 we have seen an increase in the number of trademarks registered by local businesses.

In a bid to enlighten business on the value of registering their trademarks, URSB held a sensitization workshop that attracted over 180 participants from SMEs creating awareness on the value of branding and managing their Intellectual Property assets as a tool to enhance the competitiveness of their businesses. For SMEs striving to curve a niche in the market, protection of intellectual property assets like trademarks must inform the business strategy yet businesses have been slow to exploit this. 

Trademark registration is done at URSB through a simplified process that can be accessed on various information dissemination platforms. Local businesses need to critically work on addressing protection of their brands to safeguard their trade marks. Distinction of one’s business from the competition is that unique identifier that customers need to see. 


The writer is the Registrar General  / Twitter @BemanyaT


Published: April 5, 2019

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GENEVA - Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Hon. Maj. Gen. (RTD). Kahinda Otafiire, has told the 2017 General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization that protection of Traditional Knowledge and the country’s genetic resources, from misappropriation, is a key ingredient of Uganda’s  National Intellectual Property strategy for promoting creativity and innovation amongst its indigenous peoples and local communities to promote access to alternative health care, food security, preservation of biodiversity and sustainable development.” Hon Otafiire who is leading Uganda’s delegation to the Assemblies, emphasized the contribution of Traditional knowledge systems to the social and economic development of Uganda.

Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and its decision-making bodies are meeting this week, in Geneva Switzerland, from 02 – 11 October 2017, with the hope of reaching a decision to convene a high-level meeting (diplomatic conference) to conclude a potential international instrument(s) or Treaty, in 2019 aimed at preventing the misappropriation of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. African countries are primary beneficiaries of this treaty. This is because the modern intellectual property system does not, neither adequately protect traditional knowledge systems nor local inventions based on genetic resources/traditional cultural artifacts/materials.

In his statement, Hon Otafiire told the Assembly that a potential treaty to protect genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, at the international level is a priority issue for Uganda in the WIPO. Traditional knowledge systems in Uganda have long been used to ensure access to alternative medicines (e.g. herbalists), promote sustainable agricultural production and conserve the environment. He concluded by urging Member States to negotiate in a transparent and cooperative manner and with good faith to ensure that a diplomatic conference to negotiate a treaty to prevent misappropriation of Genetic resources in 2019.

The WIPO has been a key development partner for Uganda in the field of intellectual property undertaking technical assistance activities to encourage innovation and protection of intellectual property including; technical support to Uganda in upgrading and maintenance of the Intellectual Property Automated System (IPAS); training and capacity building for human resources; support in the form a regional workshop on intellectual property and Traditional Knowledge for economic development.

WIPO member states have a daunting task to negotiate the renewal of the mandate of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), which expired in June 2017. The IGC has always held a renewable two-year mandate since it commenced text based negotiations in 2009.  It will be particularly important for African countries, as key demanders for protection of genetic resources and traditional knowledge to ensure that the General Assembly agrees to convene a diplomatic conference to conclude a treaty in 2019. 

The WIPO General Assembly will also decide, among other things: approving the program and budget of the organization for the 2018/2019 biennium; on furthering discussions for potential treaties to protect broadcasting organizations (the Broadcast Treaty), and; simplifying the international applications for industrial designs - the Design Law Treaty (DLT).

In other discussions, the WIPO General Assembly will discuss reports from various committees. At the WIPO General Assembly each committee reports on its activities over the past year. Of particular importance to Uganda and other developing countries is the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) as well as the Committee on the law of Patents. The committee is responsible for implementation of the 2007 WIPO Development Agenda by ensuring that development aspects are streamlined in all WIPO’s work including the Programme and budget. The last session of the Committee tasked the organization to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals are fully streamlined in WIPO’s activities. 

In a related development, On Monday 02 October 2017, several officers were elected to various offices. Uganda’s Mr. Bemanya Twebaze, the Registrar General of Uganda Registration Service Bureau, was elected the President of the Paris Union Assembly, and Ambassador Christopher Onyanga Aparr, Permanent Representative  of Uganda to the United Nations Office in Geneva, has been serving as the Second Vice Chairman of the Coordination Committee. 


Source: Uganda Mission to the United Nations, Geneva | Published: October 5 2017


Published in Latest News
Monday, 14 November 2016 10:24

Stakeholder Awareness on Insolvency




Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) is a body corporate established by the URSB Act Cap 210 and is responsible for Business, Intellectual Property, Civil Registrations and handles all Insolvency Matters with the Registrar General being the Official Receiver. 

The Official Receiver is at the forefront of driving insolvency reform in this country with an aim of boosting the competitiveness of the investment climate through aligning the needs of all key business players to suit a modern insolvency infrastructure. 

In line with the Second National Development Plan NDPII 2015/16-2019/20 of Uganda Vision 2040 whose theme is strengthening Uganda’s competitiveness for sustainable wealth creation, employment and Inclusive growth, the Official Receiver has organized a five [5] day activity for Insolvency practitioners, Judicial officers, the Business Community and Official Receivers from the East African Community, under the Theme “Enhancing Stakeholder Awareness on Insolvency”. 

The primary function of engaging the Business Community and insolvency practitioners is to enlighten Businessmen and professionals on developing the culture of Business revival as opposed to Liquidation. Business failure is a commercial reality, however the Law gives a distressed debtor, its creditors and other stakeholders the option to restructure and rescue the business. 

For a rescue plan to succeed, the Official Receiver takes cognizance of the existence of an effective court to manage insolvency, and more so dedicated Judicial Officers. Judicial Officers will be trained for two consecutive days by Judges from United States of America and United Kingdom on strategies in handling rescue plans. 

Given the rapid globalization of trade and its borderless nature which does not only apply to multinational Corporations but also to small and medium enterprises, [SMEs], We will engage the Regional Official Receivers from across the East African Community to discuss ways of eradicating trade barriers across borders while moving towards the enactment of the East African Protocol on Insolvency Practice.

The Bureau will engage its stakeholders from November 14 – 18, 2016 to share experiences, exchange ideas and challenges facing the East African Community Insolvency landscape. 

For more information about URSB contact: Uganda Registration Services Bureau Plot 5, George Street; Tel: 0417 338000 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Website: Facebook and twitter: URSBHQ


Published: November 14 2016


The Justice, Law and Order Sector on October 27 2016 held the 2016 edition of the JLOS Recognition Awards during the 21st Annual JLOS Review conference at Speke Resort Munyonyo. The Chief Justice presided over the ceremony.

Below is a list of recipients for the 2016 JLOS Recognition Awards.




Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB)

URSB has excelled in streamlining business registration processes through an on-line business name application solution installed to facilitate online name search and business name reservations.  Services such as name search, reservations and assessment of fees payable can now be processed in one day – an unprecedented achievement in Uganda. URSB’s excellence in service delivery is pivotal to Uganda’s improving ratings in global competitiveness and has significantly contributed to the doing business environment and improved the country’s prospects as a viable investment destination. 





The Judiciary has been at the forefront of justice innovations over the years. The Judiciary recently launched the Audio-Visual Link project that makes it possible for courts to receive evidence by audio video link from witnesses who cannot appear in court due to infancy, old age, distance and costs. This technology innovation is an effective and cost effective enabler of access to justice for the vulnerable – a signature outcome of the JLOS Third Strategic Investment Plan.




Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB) 

URSB’s accomplishments in the area of customer service excellence exemplified by the recent establishment of a fully functioning call center and vibrant social media platforms, distinguish URSB's commitment to excellent customer service pivotal to Access to Justice. URSB continues to creatively engage with its clientele through people-oriented services that have transformed the Bureau into a key player and benchmark in efficient and effective service delivery.


Uganda Prisons Service

Uganda Prisons’ customer care approach evident in prison facilities across the country has positively changed the image of the Prisons service. 




MR. Anatoli Muleterwa 

Mr. Anatoli Muletwerwa is champion of human rights awareness in the Uganda Police through sensitization of the public using various media platforms. His pro-people approach has earned him the nickname “omulwani w’dembe ryabantu (high rights defender)” from a popular radio talkshow “Police nomuntu wabuligyo”

ASP Muleterwa is a member of the Paralegal Services and head of community policing, Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP).




National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA)

For the unprecedented and successful implementation of the National Identification Project.





The Judiciary has over the last financial year carried out extensive public sensitization campaigns across the country through barazas, radio talkshows and open days on issues of plea-bargaining, Small claims procedures and other access to Justice issues. The Judiciary has during these sensitization campaigns partnered with other JLOS institutions as a demonstration of the sector-wide approach to access to justice.   Efforts of the Judiciary to reach out to the public are yielding fruits in positively changing negative perceptions about the Judiciary in the public domain.




MR. Anthony Wesaka  

Anthony Wesaka is a journalist with the Daily Monitor who specializes in reporting on justice, law and order issues. Mr. Wesaka has for the last eight years consistently and objectively covered groundbreaking news and feature stories in many JLOS institutions.




Legal Aid Service Provider’s Network (LASPNET)

LASPNET has constructively and consistently engaged with the Sector on issues of access to justice especially regarding advocacy on the Legal Aid Policy.  





Lady Justice Leticia Kikonyogo

As a former Deputy Chief Justice Justice and Head of the Court of Appeal, Lady Justice Leticia Kikonyogo served the country and the Judiciary diligently in a glittering career spanning decades. 


Dr. S.P Kagoda 

Having diligently and faithfully served in as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Dr. S.P Kagoda has tremendously contributed to growth of the Justice, Law and Order Sector for more than a decade as a member of the JLOS Steering Committee. He has also been part of the peace process for Northern Uganda and as permanent secretary he led the multi-sectoral team to successfully implement the National ID project – a an unprecedented groundbreaking achievement for Uganda.


Mr. Tommy Ochen (RIP)

As a former Director of Correctional Services, Uganda Prisons who was instrumental in the award winning Prisons Rehabilitation Programme that continues to transform the lives of many prisoners across the country. Mr. Ochen’s selfless and dedicated service as a member of the JLOS Technical Committee was instrumental in shaping the policy and strategy of the Sector.

Though he is departed and no longer with us, the Justice, Law and Order celebrates his contribution and is proud to honor his honorable legacy.


Hon. Fredrick Ruhindi 

Having served in the Sector in various capacities – State Attorney (1981-1992); Deputy Attorney General and Minister of State for Justice and Constitutional Affairs (2006-2015) and Attorney General (2015 – 2016), Hon. Fredrick Ruhindi was instrumental in shaping Uganda’s justice, law and order landscape both from a technical, professional and political perspective. For his contribution, leadership and inspiration during the formative early years of the Sector, Hon. Ruhindi’s legacy lives on – through the big strides made by the Country and the Sector in the rule of law and administration of justice during his 35 years of diligent, people oriented and dedicated service.


For more information and inquiries on the JLOS Recognition Awards, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) is the Government Agency mandated to register all marriages that take place in Uganda. Uganda Registration Services Bureau has noted with concern, the recent media /public debate with respect to the validity of Customary Marriages, and now issues clarification as follows;

A marriage is defined as a formal union between a man and woman recognized by law by which they become husband and wife and creates legal rights and obligations to the spouses. No matter the form of marriage, it is mandatory for all marriage celebrants to register the marriages that they officiate over with URSB. 

Marriage registration has various purposes:

  • Every certificate of marriage that has been filed with URSB is admissible as evidence of the marriage to which it relates; in any court of law or before any person having by law or consent of the parties, authority to receive evidence on it.
  • A registered marriage is a safeguard for spousal benefits like insurance, pension, citizenship, immigration, emigration, family resettlements as well as inheritance of estates upon the demise of a spouse. 
  • Marriage records provided to URSB by marriage celebrants are used to compile a marriage data bank. A credible marriage data base is a safe guard against bigamy, polygamy and polyandry in the case of Church and Civil marriages. Many people spend huge sums of money contracting marriages to parties that have subsisting marriages and have no legal capacity to remarry. For these reasons above, marriage registration is continuous, permanent, compulsory and universal. 

Uganda has got several forms of recognized marriages. These are customary, Muslim, Church, Civil and Hindu marriages. 

Customary marriages are celebrated according to the rites of an African Community and one of the parties to the marriage must be a member of that community. Muslim marriages are celebrated in accordance with the rites and observances of the Moslem faith, between persons professing the Moslem religion. Church marriages are celebrated in any licensed place of worship according to the rites or usages of marriages observed by a particular religious denomination. Hindu marriages are celebrated between Hindus whereas Civil marriages are celebrated in the offices of the Registrars of Marriages. The Registrar General is the Registrar of Marriages for the Kampala Capital City, whereas the Chief Administrative Officer of a District is the Registrar of Marriages in the District.

Registration of customary marriages is effected by the Sub County chief or Town Clerk of the area where it took place, and a Customary Marriage Certificate duly signed and issued by the Sub County chief or Town Clerk. This certificate, however, must then be registered with URSB.

Unlike Church and Civil marriages that are monogamous in nature, customary and Muslim marriages are potentially polygamous.  A customary marriage can however, be converted into a Church marriage if still monogamous in nature.

Upon completion of a marriage in the CAO’s office, duly licensed Church, Mosque, Temple or other authorized establishment, the couples are issued with a marriage certificate by the person who officiated over their ceremony. 

The marriage celebrant should file marriage returns with the Registrar of Marriages within one month of conducting the marriage ceremony. This is done by the marriage celebrant transmitting an official letterhead from the CAO’s office, duly licensed Church, Mosque, Temple or other authorized establishment; and a certified copy of the marriage extract to URSB.  

Marriage registration is aimed at ensuring that the end users of these marriage records are equipped with evidential value for the protection of related rights as well as to assist the Government of Uganda to build a credible marriage data base.

URSB remains committed to supporting the implementation of Government of Uganda’s strategic aspirations and efforts with respect to decentralized public service delivery. 






Published in Latest News
Monday, 07 March 2016 10:13

URSB Opens Up Call Centre


Like any other busy organizations that frequently interact with many clients, Uganda Registration Services Bureau equally needs a call centre.

One thing companies and organizations, public or private, large or small, manufacturing, service or government have in common  is the critical need for exceptional customer service, so the increasing expectations for public-sector service levels necessitates a look at whether our operations have the capability to deliver adequate customer centred experiences, that drive a culture of efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction.

After a critical look at our operations and as a response to our client feedback we have set up a call centre at our head office on George Street Georgian House. We have started with five agents and a traditional telephone line (0417338100); we expect the centre to evolve over time into a high-tech Call Center that will have ability to handle over 1000 calls on the typical business day.

At URSB we believe that every employee - client encounter must be considered an important opportunity to improve customer service and enhance customer satisfaction. In addition, we must actively solicit feedback from our clients; so that we get to know what they think so that we use their feedback to improve service delivery. 

Since its establishment, our call centre agents have compiled a database of client questions and the provided answers.  This growing database is a key to the centre’s high call completion rate and functions as a hub for information, services and programs the public can use.  

With a call centre in place, calls are being answered within the first 15 seconds and 80% of the calls are addressed by the call centre representatives directly in the first call while 20% are transferred to relevant officers for follow up.  As a consolidated centre for information, the public can gain access to relevant information in a short period of time with a single call. 

We believe that responses given quickly and courteously by knowledgeable and helpful agents are certainly valued highly by most clients and this translates into a high level of customer satisfaction.

Our organization has a lot of information on transactions between the customer and our staff, but little on customers’ real experience of us hence the need for us to hear from you through the call centre.


For any information about URSB services and complaints, call the call centre line on 0417338100.  

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