“You find a Sacco with over 500 members in different associations in a constituency getting Shs 30 million, do you expect it to help them out of poverty. I saw some members in my area getting Shs 50,000. How do you move from one step to another with that meager support?” one caller asked.
MASINDI –During an appearance on Kings Radio recently, Moses Kalyegira, the District Commercial Officer of Masindi, said disbursement of emyooga funds in the Western district is almost complete.
Speaking on a talk show program sponsored by The Uhuru Institute for Social Development on April 20, Kalyegira said there are only four savings and credit cooperatives, SACCOs, which haven’t got their money because they have a few issues to resolve.
“We are helping these SACCOs get their money. They have a few challenges but we are helping to resolve them. The money is there on their SACCO accounts. After resolving their issues they will access the money. The other SACCOs have all got their money and they have started using it,” he said.
He also dismissed as false claims that emyooga funds were introduced as bait for votes for President Museveni during the January 14 2021 presidential election. He said the program was introduced before campaigns started.
“This program was introduced to supplement on what people were doing already and also to support other program like the National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS), Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) and the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program (UWEP) among others,” Kalyegira added.
He also used the radio appearance to clarify that the program never came to kill the traditional SACCOs as many people claim. He said the program is tailored to organize and support people who are organized in one cluster.
According to Kalyegira, Masindi District received Shs 1.6 billion, channeled through 54 SACCOs. The 54 SACCOs were formed in three constituencies; Masindi Municipality, Bujenje County and Buruli.
The official disbursement of the funds was launched in March 2021 by Rose Kirabira, the Masindi Resident District Commissioner.
Kalyegira however, said SACCO members need to have saved at least 30 percent of the money they are applying for to access emyooga cash from the bank. He said requirement is a big challenge for most SACCOs.
Pamela Nyakato, the chairperson of Bujenje Constituency Leaders Emyooga SACCO, said the program has created jobs, knowledge and skills sharing since people doing similar things meet and share experiences.
Nyakato also noted that the program is saddled with many challenges and a lot of sensitization is needed.
“Many people thought this program was a thank you (to them) from the president for mobilizing voter support for him. It’s very hard to remove this thinking from the members but we’re trying hard to do the needful and some members have started understanding it,” she noted.
Nyakato also said most members have a poor saving culture. She said many people save in anticipation of getting emyooga money and once they lay their hands on it, they disappear.
“Many SACCOs are also facing a challenge of unskilled leaders. Many people are illiterate and are running these SACCOs. Proper record keeping is a problem. Even accessing the money from the bank is a problem since many are forced to sign several times. You find their signatures varying,” she said.
“For instance, for a member to get money from the Sacco he or she should have saved at least 30% of the money he or she is applying for but few meet this requirement and yet this is the applicants’ security,” she said.
Most callers however, expressed dissatisfaction with the program. They said the money is too little to move members to another level.
“You find a SACCO with over 500 members in different associations in a constituency getting Shs 30 million, do you expect it to help them out of poverty. I saw some members in my area getting Shs 50,000. How do you move from one step to another with that meager support?” one caller asked.
Another caller was unhappy with the delayed disbursement of the funds. He said they spent a lot on transport following up on their applications.
“We have been putting in a lot of money following up the matter with the bank and other officials but what we are getting as members is very little compared to what we put in. SACCOs with many associations would have been given more money instead of only Shs. 30 million per Sacco,” he said.
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