President Yoweri Museveni has given Shs 100m to Gulu University, in fulfilment of a pledge he made to the institution’s staff SACCO.
While officiating at the University’s 15th graduation ceremony in January this year, Museveni pledged Shs 100m to the University staff SACCO in order to widen members’ sources of income through entrepreneurship as they seek to meet their growing demands.
Established in 2002, Gulu University is among the 11 government universities across the country.
Prof. George Openyguru Ladaah, Vice Chancellor of Gulu University, announced to staff yesterday that the money was already on the SACCO’s account, adding that it will boost the financial position of the university.
“During the 15th graduation in January we requested for money from the president and I am glad that he has acknowledged this request and submitted it to the staff association. This will go a long way in improving the financial status of the university,” Prof. Openyguru said.
David Obol Otori, the University Secretary, commended the President for honouring his pledge, saying the money will provide quick financial relief to the staff of the University.
James Ojok Onono, the University’s assistant Public Relations Officer, confirmed to theCooperator that the money was transferred to the SACCO’s account, Trusted Friends, last week.
“Since the president made the pledge in January, the management of the University has been following the pledge and we have confirmed that last week the money was sent to the SACCO’s account,” Onono said.
Onono said members will be able to borrow the money very soon, after the borrowing and repayment terms have been agreed upon, with the staff salaries acting as security.
“The University management and the association members will sit within the next two days and see how all the staff can benefit from the money,” Onono said.
Ultimately, Onono said, the SACCO hopes to offer credit to members at lower interest rates than any other money lending institution.
“For now, we are thinking of charging 10 percent, but we shall determine that in the next meeting concerning how the money ought to be used,” he said.
Onono added that the institution aims at providing its staff an alternative to exploitative financial institutions.
“We want to be the pioneer institution that will stop its staff from taking bank loans. Once this SACCO is empowered and accumulates between Shs 5-10bn, we shall be providing loans internally and our staff will not suffer from high interest rates on loans charged by other financial institutions,” Onono said.
President Museveni has consistently argued that the government cannot meet the salary demands of all workers in public institutions, and has instead urged them to form professional savings groups that the government would support with affordable credit to diversify their sources of income.
Last year the president announced that the same approach would be extended to small scale skilled labour groups including carpenters, taxi-operators, boda boda riders and salon operators among others. The project now commonly referred to as Emyooga, is to be funded with Shs 100bn.
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