LIRA –Fifty-one Savings and Credit cooperatives (SACCOs) in the Northern District of Lira have received Shs 30m each under the presidential initiative on job and wealth creation commonly known as Emyooga.
Emyooga was launched in August 2019 by President Museveni to spur a shift from subsistence to market-oriented production.
The government set aside Shs 260 billion to bankroll the programme with each constituency meant to receive Shs 560 million.
James Chemutai, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner of Lira, confirmed the funds have reached the accounts of the beneficiary SACCO groups.
“We have received 51 certificates, 33 are for Erute North and Erute South constituencies, and the remaining 18 for the city. All these Saccos have already received funds on their accounts, that means the president has fulfilled his pledge,” Chemutai told theCooperator in a recent interview.
“When the president launched the Emyooga program, very many people thought it was a campaign tool. They said the president was looking for votes through this Emyooga, which was a total lie. Now that politics is over, many people still thought the money would not come,” he said.
Chemutai applauded the president for honoring his pledge but cautioned beneficiaries to utilize the funds well.
“I take this opportunity to caution the beneficiaries of this money not to eat up this seed because Emyooga is a seed that the president feels should germinate and help the population get out of poverty,” he said.
He said people will be arrested for misusing the money.
The Lira Deputy Commercial Officer Santos Olade said some of the approved Sacco groups have already withdrawn their money from their bank accounts.
Olade said one performing artists SACCO in Erute South had already withdrawn up to Shs 24 million from their account.
“Emyooga guidelines require that when you have deposited Shs1million into the bank account, you end up getting Shs 3 million, so this group had Shs 8 million on their Sacco account so they got Shs 24 million,” he said.
Samuel Odongo, the chairperson of Erute South performing artist SACCO, said they will use the Shs 24 million to buy more equipment and give loans to members.
“We have a lot of experience and talent but we could not showcase it because we were financially unstable but now with the availability of the Emyooga money, we are optimistic we will have a better livelihood,” he said.
On December 11, 2020, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development wired Shs 1.5 billion to Lira district and each of the approved SACCO groups account received Shs 30 million.
Erute North constituency received Shs 500 million, Erute South got Shs 530 million and then Lira Municipality (now Lira City West) and East Divisions got Shs 560 million, which was instead wired to Lira City West Division leaving East with nothing.
Emyooga cash is largely given to Ugandans in the informal sector organized in Saccos under 18 clusters including; Boda Boda riders, tailors, taxi drivers, restaurants, welders, market vendors, women entrepreneurs, youth leaders, people with disabilities, journalists, performing artists, veterans, fishermen, private teachers, and elected leaders.
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