HOIMA – Hoima district authorities have failed to recover over Shs 1 billion from the youth who benefited the Youth Livelihood programme.
Anthony Ayesiga Hoima district labor officer and focal person for the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme [UWEP] said several youth and women groups that were given money to create wealth and jobs have failed to pay back the money.
He noted those who have failed to pay back the money blame it on the Covid-19 pandemic which they say affected their businesses in the years 2020 and 2021 when the country was placed under a lockdown.
However, he said others have refused to pay because of a negative attitude and think government money is not supposed to be paid back.
According to Ayesiga, since 2014, the government has disbursed Shs 1.43bln to 153 youth groups in Hoima district but authorities have managed to recover only a paltry Shs 390 million.
He added that women are not performing well in the recovery of the funds adding that from 2014 government disbursed Shs 770mln to 104 groups with 932 women but they have only recovered a miserable Shs 160mln.
He made the remarks on Friday during the launch for the disbursement of YLP and UWEP money to 21 youth and women groups from different sub-counties in Hoima district.
He noted they are doing whatever it takes to have the groups pay back the money, adding that they have been arresting group members to see that they recover the money.
Ayesiga said the Shs 118mln disbursed recently are part of the money which was recovered from the groups which previously benefited YLP AND UWEP, adding that the money was given to a few groups because the recovery is still poor.
He said the government through the Ministry of Gender and Social Development released Shs 34.5mln under UWEP to benefit women groups in Hoima district and Shs 84mln to benefit 14 youth groups.
However, he noted that when groups fail to pay back the money within a period of three years, they are charged an interest of 5 per annum.
Michael Kyakashari, the deputy resident district commissioner Hoima said the government through different programmes including the Parish Development Model [PDM], continues to play its part in availing funds to people so that they fight poverty, even though he added some people have not invested the money in the income generating activities.
He blamed the challenge of poor recovery on the implementers of the programmes such as community development officers whom he accused of conniving with beneficiaries to register ghost beneficiaries of the different programmes.
Ivan Mugisha the chairperson of Kyeramya Sub-county boda-boda youth groups expressed excitement after they were given Shs 10mln instead of Shs 5mln applied for.
He said they would use the money received to buy a motorcycle which to boost their business.
Buy your copy of thecooperator magazine from one of our country-wide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news