Mwizi SACCO back on growth path, members urged to continue saving

RWAMPARA– Mwizi SACCO has managed to record tremendous success during the financial year 2022/2023, the SACCO having been mismanaged by the former leadership, which was kicked out for it to stabilise and embark on the journey of growth.

A 2019 forensic audit indicated that Mwizi SACCO had made a loss of Shs 411 million, leading to the arrest of board chairperson, Evarist Mujuni, and Evans Kabambo, the chairperson supervisory committee.

The inefficient leaders had spent three years without holding any annual general meeting [AGM], something that disturbed members. However, later on, new leaders would be elected to steer the SACCO which is now enjoying the fruits of good governance.

During the SACCO’s 20th AGM held last Friday at its head office Mwizi Kabura Town Council in Rwampara district, Wilson Mutabazi, the new board chairman revealed that the SACCO now boasts a share capital of about Shs 1.7 billion.

He further said the SACCO has realised total savings of about Shs 3.4bln, loan portfolio of about Shs 8.7bln, gross profit of about Shs 1.1bln, and a membership of 14,733.

“Members of Mwizi SACCO have continued to grow their shares and savings, and continue absorbing different loan products which have enabled them to develop and at the same time facilitate the growth of the SACCO,” Mutabazi said.

The chairman attributed the good progress of the SACCO to good governance and the respect that members have for each other.

Rewarding the best savers of Mwizi SACCO. (Photo by Joshua Nahamya).

As board members, we have to do research to establish what members want and what they support and their capacity to develop,” he says.

He adds that they have developed internal control measures such as loan monitoring to prevent the members from defaulting. “We do loan appraisals so that the money that is given out is recovered in time.”

Dormant accounts are a big challenge

Despite an increase in the members’ savings, the supervisory committee of the SACCO notes the challenge of dormant accounts.

“The number of dormant accounts is still high and we, therefore, appeal to members with dormant accounts to activate them as per Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority [UMRA] regulations,” said Obed Arimpa, the chairman, supervisory committee chairman says.

No cases of fraud

Arimpa while speaking to members during the AGM said the SACCO did not register any case of theft or fraud in the year 2022 and attributed it to the installation of CCTV cameras, and the deployment of security personnel.

“We are glad to report to you that based on the monthly and quarterly reviews conducted in 2022, we are satisfied that the board and management diligently observed the prevailing internal control measures to mitigate the possible occurrence of any fraud…or errors in the running and reporting of the SACCO’s transactions,” Arimpa said.

Resolutions passed during AGM

During the meeting, members passed resolutions for the year 2023. They included; payment of dividends, opening a cash branch in Mbarara, approval of water tank loan as a new loan product, increase of external borrowing power up to Shs 3 bln, increase of maximum loan to members from Shs 60 mln to Shs 100 mln and increase of maximum loan repayment period from 3 years to 5 years among others.

Aron Ntegyerize, the general manager pledged that in the financial year 2023/2024, construction of the SACCO’s storied building would begin.

“We were unable to construct a storied building as agreed in the last annual general meeting. However, plans to expand our head offices building are still on,” Ntegyerize said.

Ministry official speaks on multiple regulations, cooperative values

The AGM was presided over by Moses Magumba, a senior officer at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives [MTIC] who encouraged cooperators to remain patient as government works on the challenge of multiple regulations in the cooperative movement.

Moses Magumba, senior officer, Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives (Photo by Joshua Nahamya).

“We have regulations which are contradicting one another for example the Tier 4 Microfinance Institutions & Money Lenders Act, 2016, and Cooperative Societies Act, as amended in 2020. Right now these concerns have been tabled before the Honourable Speaker of Parliament and I am sure any time she will be forwarding it for further discussion,” Magumba said.

Magumba encouraged the Sacco leadership and members to embrace cooperative values.

Mwizi SACCO was formed in 2003 with only 300 members. However, since 2021, its membership has grown from 12, 408 to 14,733. The SACCO saw its loan portfolio increase to about Shs 8.7bln in 2022 from about Shs 7.1bln in 2021.

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