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Katakwi: Best performing Emyooga SACCOs get Shs 220mln additional seed capital

KATAKWI, March 8, 2024 – Government through the Microfinance Support Center [MSC] has injected additional seed capital of Shs 220 million into 11 successful Emyooga Saving and Credit Cooperative Societies [SACCOs] in Katakwi district.

Among the Emyooga SACCOs that will share the money are Ngariam County Tailors SACCO, Ngariam County Youth Leaders SACCAO, Ngariam County Women Entrepreneurs SACCO, Toroma County Women Entrepreneurs SACCO, and Toroma County Elected Leaders SACCO.

Others are Toroma County Youth Leaders SACCO, Toroma County Veterans SACCO, Toroma County Boda-boda SACCO, Toroma County Salon Operators SACCACO Toroma County Restaurant Owners SACCO Usuk County Produce Dealers SACCAO.

Paul Walakira, Chief Administrative Officer Katakwi district said that the beneficiary Emyooga SACCOs are part of the 54 that were formed in the district and funded with Shs 30mln each during the first disbursements, with the exception of elected leaders who received Shs 50mln of seed capital.

“These Emyooga SACCOs were rated as best performing because of the proper utilisation of the earlier seed capital, vibrant membership, good governance, and adherence to statutory requirements and improved loan recovery rate,” he explained.

Whereas some beneficiary categories have relatively manageable numbers, Walakira said others are overwhelmed by numbers and struggle to satisfactorily serve their members due to the limited resources.

To solve this, the Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development in charge of Microfinance, Hajji Haruna Kasolo Kyeyune, while in Teso Sub-region recently to monitor the progress of the programme announced an additional Shs 360mln whereby each of the best performing SACCOs will receive an additional Shs 20mln.

Accumulative disbursements

According to Patrick Todi, the Katakwi district Commercial Officer, they have so far has received a total of Shs 2.3 billion under a Emyooga Programme, benefiting a total of 54 Emyooga SACCOs in Ngariam, Usuk, and Toroma counties.

Todi explained that a total of 505 Emyooga associations [groups] have been registered and aligned to constituency SACCOs with estimated total of 13,468 members as beneficiaries.

“Emyooga Seed capital has been disbursed to a total of 1,974 persons as loan beneficiary members in 202 parish groups funded so far since inception of Emyooga Programme,” said Todi.

Patrick Todi, Katakwi District Commercial Officer speaking to theCooperator in his office about the performance of Emyooga (Photo by Alexander Okori).

Recovery Rate

Though Katakwi district achieved 100 percent disbursement rate, Todi lamented that recovery remains nightmare the district leadership is battling with.

Out of Shs 2.3bln that government disbursed to the district, Todi said only Shs 308.9mln have so far been recovered.

He stated some beneficiaries have intentionally refused to pay back the money, claiming it was free money given by President Museveni, since the Emyooga Presidential Initiative was launched at the peak of the presidential campaigns in 2021.

“A significant portion of beneficiaries misconceived the Emyooga Programme as merely political reward money as opposed to affordable investment capital to finance and expand business activities in the 18 Emyooga Categories as outlined in the guidelines,” said Todi.

According to Todi, a number of the programme’s beneficiaries simply diverted the funds to unproductive activities.

Among the worst performing Emyooga SACCOs include those for taxi operators, journalists, boda-bodas, youth leaders, mechanics, welders, performing artists and elected leaders.

Meanwhile, Godfrey Even Katamba, the Katakwi Resident District Commissioner urged the defaulters to pay back the money or else risk being arrested.

He warned the programme’s beneficiaries not bring the excuse of Covid-19 as being responsible for their failure to pay back the money, saying other people also need to use the money to develop themselves.

“You should not bring the issue of Covid-19 as one of the reasons why you failed to pay back the money because there were people you managed to pay back the money, where were they, in the space where there is not Covid-19?” Katamba asked.

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