HOIMA – Hoima district elderly person’s Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (SACCO) leaders have accused the government of duping them and protested the delivery of three piglets by the Ministry of Gender and Social Development (MGLSD).
In an interview with Kabyanga Israel, the secretary of the SACCO said that they started the SACCO in 2019 following advice from MGLSD officials who promised to support their SACCO to grow.
According to Kabyanga, the ministry had promised to support their SACCO with quality breeds of goats, pig, poultry and cows.
He explained that SACCO members are expected to receive at least 20 piglets out of the 50 which MGLSD had promised to deliver.
However, he noted that SACCO members were surprised after the National Coordinator for Social Economic Development program for older people of Uganda in the office of president Col. Apuuli Patrick Brown delivered to them three piglets.
He added that the government had also promised to give them Shs 60 million which would facilitate them to look after their projects.
He also complained that the three piglets were of poor quality, adding that their SACCO received them two months ago but they are not growing at all.
He blamed the government for failing to live up to their promises and wondered how three piglets can help a SACCO of 180 members to improve on their household come.
“MGLSD told us to form a SACCO as older persons so that they can support us to improve our welfare; we responded to the call and formed it, surprisingly they gave us three pigs without feeds, what can three piglets do for us?” he complained.
“We are struggling to feed these pigs because they were delivered without feeds, as you know most of the elderly people have no stable income generating activities. Though we are struggling to feed them it seems the piglets were of poor quality, they eat but they are not growing well” Kabyanga said.
He also said the male pig has totally failed to grow and demanded Col. Apuuli to come and take it back where he got it from.
He expressed concern that since 2019, the MGLSD has only managed to give their SACCO three piglets.
Col. Apuuli denied the allegation adding that he did not promise to offer 50 piglets and Shs 60 million as claimed by the SACCO leaders.
He admitted that the elderly persons across the country were advised to form , SACCOs to get a way of supporting them under an initiative dubbed Social Economic Development program for older people of Uganda.
He added that so far 128 elderly person’s SACCOs have been formed in 128 districts. Previously, the Social Economic Development program was initiated to support the elderly persons from 60 to 79 years.
After making reforms in the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE), the reforms now target elderly persons from 80 years and above.
“Under this program, we partner with Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) and MAAIF to support elderly persons in their SACCOs with goats, pig, poultry and cows and inputs such as cash nuts among others to improve their household incomes. As Coordinator of this program, I have never promised them anything; we started this program but whatever we get is what we give them, those who are claiming that I promised things are just concocting stories” said Col. Apuuli.
He noted that they encourage people to organize themselves and start something and then later the government will come in to support their effort.
Hoima district elderly person’s SACCO has several challenges which may result into its collapse if it fails to get a bailout.
Last year the SACCO lost its chairperson Kyahurwa William which also created a vacuum in the SACCOs progress.
Unfortunately, at the end of June this year, the SACCO again lost its vice chairperson Muhamad Makidadi who succumbed to Covid-19 before the SACCO members could appoint a new chairperson.
Makidadi has been working as acting SACCO chairperson. The SACCO which started in 2019 has 180 members with Shs 3 million savings.
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