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COVID-19: Members of Moroto VSLAs default on loan repayment

Several Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) in Moroto Municipality, Moroto district are facing challenges recovering money lent to their members, many of whom have been put out of business by the spate of measures instituted in the wake of the novel Coronavirus.

Patricia Nakut, the Chairperson of Kitopoloi Village Savings and Loans Association located in Moroto Municipality’s South Division, told theCooperator news on Saturday that most members who borrowed money from the group have failed to repay it because their sources of income have been closed.

“Most of our members run small restaurants but the police have closed all such businesses following President Museveni’s directives after the outbreak of Coronavirus in Uganda,” she said.

She noted that the closure of businesses has affected members’ ability to make the weekly repayments on loans that they had taken from the VSLA. 

Betty Namboze, a member of Kitopoloi Village Savings and Loans Association who borrowed Shs. 200,000 from the group said she was supposed to pay back the money on Friday last week but was unable to because her business was closed.

“After I had borrowed the money from the group, I went and bought food to cook in the restaurant, but early in the morning the police closed all the restaurants including mine, so I have not gotten any coin,” she said.

In a similar situation is Peter Lomongin, Chairperson of Ateker Village Savings and Loans Association located in Acholin ward in Moroto Municipality. He says a total of Shs. 2.5 million in loans to members was due for payment by Thursday last week. However, only Shs. 100,000 has been paid back to date.

“Every member is crying that there is no money since all the businesses have been shut down by government over the Coronavirus,” he said.

Jimmy Lomokol the Chairman Karamoja Private Sector predicts that most VSLAs and SACCOs in Karamoja will be decimated in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We pray Uganda quickly gets rid of this virus, otherwise if businesses remain closed and our people unable to work for too long, SACCOs are doomed. We shall all be in trouble,” he said.

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