HomeBUSINESSEmyooga Cash Defaulters to be Arrested

Emyooga Cash Defaulters to be Arrested

Joshua Nahamya

Mbarara

The state minister for finance, planning, and economic development (micro-finance), Hon. Haruna Kasolo Kyeyune, has threatened to arrest all Emyooga SACCO leaders who have failed to recover government funds from their SACCO members.

Kasolo made the remark over the weekend while monitoring the progress of the Emyooga program in the Ankole sub-region.

The warning comes after members of parliament submitted the performance reports to the flow of parliament about the presidential initiative, as earlier directed by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Anita Among, to undertake a fact-finding mission to assess the progress of the program in August 2021.

It was discovered that the ambiguity of the legal frameworks surrounding the Presidential Initiative on Wealth Creation, Emyooga program continued to receive setbacks, raising concerns about the project’s accountability mechanisms.

The findings also showed that Emyooga was filled with bribes and was not supporting the intended beneficiaries of the program.

While meeting with Emyooga SACCO heads and district leaders in Ibanda, Minister Kasolo directed the district commercial officer to make a report on the defaulters to recover the government money.

“Commercial officers, you must know groups that have paid and those that have defaulted must be arrested to refund the money because we cannot leave government money to be wasted like that,” Kasolo said.

He also pledged to add more than 20 million shillings every year to the Emyooga SACCOs, which are performing well.

“The president accepted to add 20 million annually to some of the saccos which are doing well,” says Kasolo.

lbanda district was given 1.5 billion for 54 Emyooga SACCOs.

While in the Mbarara district, Kasolo warned SACCO leaders to stop demanding collateral security from members hoping to access Emyooga funds.

“In Mbarara district, we have detected some elements requesting collateral, and this is the essence of my movements.” So, we have fixed it and we have reminded the savers and the SACCO leaders that really it is not the government’s motive to promote security and collateral in SACCOs”. Minister Kasolo explained

If you are in Emyooga and you want access, the only condition must be saving. There must be no collateral security. So, beginning with tomorrow, they will not ask for collateral because the collateral security is the money you have saved that informs how much you qualify to have as a loan, but if SACCO leaders go an extra mile, they can at least ask for SACCO members or association leaders to second the borrowers in case they want a loan but no collateral security. He added.

Kasolo also challenged elected leaders to join SACCOs to entice other locals to join the cooperative movement.

“Elected Leaders, if people see that you have joined a SACCO, then they will take you seriously to be effectively mobilized”. He said

James Agaba, the Principal Commercial Officer of Mbarara City, reported to the minister that Emyooga SACCOs received little money compared to the number and size of groups newly created.

“Consider a SACCO that was only given 30 million. Remember, it has 170 groups. Even if you were to divide directly 30 million by 170 groups, you will get 176,000 shillings per group as start-up capital to mobilize themselves into projects, “he stressed.

Agaba also says that the lucrative program has been challenged by untrained staff and beneficiaries.

“Some people lacked skills in managing their SACCOs. Some of them had never been managers; they didn’t have any idea about any microfinance business, so we have been training them to see how to start, and helped them to design loan foams, report formats, and how to design stationery, “Agaba said.

He also complained that the interest rate on Emyooga associations is too low to enable the sustainability of the shareholders and their promoters to transform from one level to another.

The SACCO is supposed to be a self-sustaining institution whereby when members access loans, they pay interest plus the principal fee, and then the accumulated interest on loans should be able to help the institutions stand on their own. But if you take 30 million at 8%, you get 8% per annum to earn you a net of 2.4 million as promoted by the president, and many of them will be at risk of collapsing after one year. However, considering their expenses, we have been encouraging members based on democratic principle and ownership to increase a little from 8% on the list to 10% per annum so that they are able to meet their own expenses, “Agaba explained.

Also, Bintabara Mwetise challenged the government to focus on equipping the youths with skills rather than focusing on the issuing of money.

When you talk about Emyooga, you are supposed to train people to work and acquire knowledge and skills. Like if you are a carpenter, you are supposed to train a non-carpenter to learn carpentry, but President Museveni has focused on giving money, which has not addressed the challenge of unemployment. ” Mwetise said.

Emyooga is a presidential initiative that was launched in August 2019 and targets 18 specialized enterprises to transform 68% of Ugandan homesteads from substance to market-oriented production.

Some of the beneficiaries in the artisan financial inclusion include; metal workers, musicians, saloons, journalists, carpentry among others.

By the end of July 2021 seed capital amounting to Ugx 213 billion has already been disbursed to Emyooga SACCOs out of Ugx 260billion seed capital that government is committed to provide through Microfinance Support Centre (MSC).

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