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Minister urges fishermen and boda boda riders on value of SACCOs

SERERE, March 12, 2024 – As the country’s hard economy bites, the State Minister for Fisheries, Hellen Adoa has advised boda boda riders and fishermen in Serere district to form or join existing Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies [SACCOs], and embrace a saving culture.

According to her, fishermen and commercial riders find it hard to save part of their earnings with local SACCOs because of their habit of migrating from one landing site to another and having many women.

“Many fishermen don’t save their money after selling their catch due to their extravagant spending and extra-marital affairs. This is the reason they have remained poor,” the minister said.

While speaking to this reporter, Adoa advised fishermen and boda-boda riders to form SACCOs that would give them an opportunity to save and borrow at low interest rate.

The minister highlighted that through SACCOs, members can be able to access credit from organisations like the government-owned Microfinance Support Centre [MSC] to invest in other viable income generating activities and improve on their livelihoods.

“There are many opportunities that can help residents generate income, apart from expanding the business, saving money can help them during emergencies as it provides a fallback should something unexpected happen.”

Adoa said even parliament has its SACCO [Parliamentary SACCO] and whenever any legislator encounters a problem he or she runs there for financial assistance and this has helped them to push on during the hard economic times.

Fishermen can greatly benefit by investing in SACCOs and start taking insurance cover to protect them,” Adoa said.

She stated that many boda boda riders are facing many challenges after creditors confiscated their motorbikes after failing to pay back the loans.

“I have experienced boda boda riders’ motorbikes being taken by creditors because they have failed to clear the arrears,” said the minister.

Adoa further cautioned fishermen against continued use of illegal fishing gear as it threatens fish stock.

Many fishermen in the region are still using illegal gear which is against the law despite being sensitized on the required fishing gear to be used in water bodies across the country,” said Adoa.

She pointed out that the UPDF marine soldiers are experiencing challenges in the war against illegal fishing equipment due to the defiance by the fishermen.

Meanwhile, David Okiror, a fisherman from Kagwara landing site called on government to empower and equip them with financial knowledge and skills.

He said that a majority of fishermen and boda boda riders lack knowledge on how to manage their fish business.

“And having these financial literacy awareness trainings conducted in fishing communities can be life-changing to skillful fishers,” he added.

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