HOIMA – The government through the Ministry of Bunyoro Affairs which operates under the office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has released Shs 4 billion to Bunyoro region as a special grant to fight the worrying poverty among the kingdom subjects.
The Shs 4 billion was released under a program dubbed Micro Project Association which was recently initiated by President Museveni to help the people of Bunyoro create jobs and wealth so that they can move out of poverty.
The funds were unveiled by the State Minister for Bunyoro Affairs, Jenifer Kacha Namuyangu on Wednesday during the launch of the program at the RDC’s office in Hoima City.
During the launch, Namuyangu disbursed Shs 64.5 million to 16 groups from Hoima City and Hoima district who are the first beneficiaries of the program.
According to Namuyangu, the Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) are mandated to monitor and supervise the implementation of the program adding that the funds will only benefit organized people in groups.
Though the beneficiaries have the right to select enterprises of their interest, Namuyangu directed leaders and technical officials to sensitize, help and guide the beneficiaries in selecting the best enterprises which are marketable and train them with financial literacy.
“This money is from President Museveni given to Bunyoro sub-region as a special intervention for them to get out of poverty in addition to other projects,” she explained.
She added that the government is ready to add more money on the Shs 4 billion to ensure that all the people interested in benefiting from the project are not left out.
“We shall even give them more money, because we have the money, this is the money for last quarter but I have already written to all accounting officers in the ten local governments of Bunyoro to select other groups and this time round we want everybody involved, the Members of Parliament, District Chairpersons and their Executives, Councillors, Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) and the District Internal Security Officers (DISOs) must all be involved so that the groups that are sent to me are groups that are real groups that are serious and on the ground,” she explained.
Namuyangu warned the beneficiaries against mismanagement of the funds and appealed to them to have goals, values and be focused to use the funds for the intended purpose.
Speaking on the behalf of the beneficiaries, the retired Bishop of Bunyoro Kitara diocese Rt. Rev Nathan Kyamanywa commended the president for the initiative but said that the money is too little to create impact to the beneficiaries and asked the Minister to lobby for more funding.
“There is a group which has received Shs 2 million here, so I was wondering how the members will share this money, I want to give my example. When you visited my farm, I told you that I need to have 5000 goats in 2 years, you know my budget and I have just received 10% of my budget, how will I be able to produce 5000 goats with that money, we are not rejecting it but we request that you add us more money.”
However, the Woman Member of Parliament for Hoima district, Harriet Businge welcome the program saying it will help many people to move out of poverty but questioned the criteria used in selecting the beneficiaries. She complained that groups were picked from one particular area leaving out many other areas on the program.
“It is unfortunate, that the criteria used to select the groups was unfair because when you look at Hoima district which I represent, only few groups benefited from this cycle, the entire Bugahya county with over seven sub-counties has no beneficiary at all, there is no group that has come from the entire Bugahya,” she complained.
Hoima Resident City Commissioner (RCC), Samuel Kisembo promised that a mechanism will be put in place to ensure that all the interest groups benefit.
He added that they are planning to have a committee which will select and scrutinize the beneficiaries in the second phase of the project.
Kisembo also urged the beneficiaries to excellently perform so that they can be given more funds since it’s allowed for those groups that perform well.
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