WAKISO, Uganda: Government is committed to ensuring that Cooperatives are revamped to its former glory, President Yoweri Museveni has reaffirmed.
In a speech read on his behalf by the 3rd Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Moses Ali during this year’s international Cooperative Day held at Wakiso District Playgrounds on Saturday, Museveni said that his government was committed to the payment of all compensation claims by Cooperatives as a result of war losses.
A number of Cooperative Unions across the country were part of several organized groups that contributed logistical support to the National Resistance Movement’s Bush war between 1981-86, that toppled the Tito Okello government and ushered President Museveni into power.
Once in power, the NRM government was, as part of its economic recovery program, supposed to compensate the affected cooperatives for the losses suffered during the war, amounting to over Ugx160 billion. An investigation by theCooperator early this year, however, found that most of the Cooperatives have yet to be paid, 33 years down the road.
TheCooperator has however learned that compensations are now ongoing. At the launch of the Cooperative week at the Uganda Media Center on Thursday last week, Trade Industry and Cooperatives Minister Hon. Amelia Kyambadde announced that over 10 cooperative unions countrywide had already received part compensation payments from the government. These include Masaba Cooperative Union, Lango Cooperative Union, East & west Acholi, Masaka, Busoga Growers, and Banyankole Kweterana, Kigezi, Teso and Nyakatonzi Cooperatives Union.
On Saturday, Gen. Moses Ali assured the cooperators that government was committed to supporting Cooperative Unions to get back to their feet: “My message to you is that we(government) are committed to ensuring that cooperatives get back to being as strong as they are,” said Gen. Ali.
State Minister for Trade Hon. Michael Werikhe also told the cooperators that the government was set to revive the Cooperative Bank, following the enactment of the Cooperative Act by parliament in May.
Speaking to theCooperator, Leonard Okello, the Chief Executive Officer of the Uhuru Institute for Social Development welcomed what he called Government’s “renewed commitment” to cooperatives, arguing that they(cooperatives) are a critical means towards attaining an equitable society with the citizen at the center of an inclusive, cooperative, and accountable economic system. He commended the Cooperator for being a steadfast mouthpiece of the Cooperatives movement.
The weeklong celebrations were marked with multi-denominational prayers across the country, and a host of other activities that included cleaning of markets, blood donation drives, and tree planting exercises. In the blood donation drive that was launched early last week, over 500 units of blood were collected. At the medical camp at Wakiso conducted by Uganda Red Cross, over 50 males received free male circumcision.
This year’s Cooperatives Week was jointly organized by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Walimu SACCO, the Uhuru Institute for Social Development, the Cooperative Insurance Company and the Uganda Cooperative Alliance.