The fraternity of journalists in the greater Nebbi districts, under their umbrella, Nebbi-Zombo Media Association (NEZOMA) SACCO, has received Shs 30m in seed capital under Emyooga.
Emyooga is a government initiative aimed at creating jobs and improving the household incomes of Ugandans grouped according to 18 clusters, of which Journalists form one.
Some of the journalists under the body welcomed the Emyooga cash injection, saying it is the only way that journalists can generate additional income to supplement their “meagre” pay at work.
Fred Munguriek, a freelance journalist, said the formation of the SACCO was a good move since it would be difficult for freelance journalists to get loans from any financial institutions.
“Besides the meagre pay that we receive, most freelancers lack authentic documents to present to the bank for loan borrowing. This has affected both our livelihoods and savings,” Mungureik said.
The Chairperson, NEZOMA, Prisca Oroma, said the association was formed three years back with a core objective of uniting the journalists together for the common goal of improving their livelihoods.
However, she adds, it was impossible to implement the objective due to financial gaps among the journalists, hence the need for the SACCO.
While she lauded the receipt of Shs 30m under Emyooga, she decried the lacklustre savings habits of members, which may bar some of them from accessing the funds.
“The participation of my fellow journalists is very poor; most want to benefit from Emyooga funds without participating in saving with the SACCO. Out of 30 group members in the SACCO, only 10 have paid up their membership fees,” she lamented.
According to Emyooga’s guidelines, only active members who are regular savers with their host SACCOs may benefit from the initiative.
Nebbi District Commercial Officer, David Muswa, called on the journalists to address leadership, governance and ethical challenges if they are to run their SACCO professionally.
“Our office will ensure we conduct financial literacy trainings for all the successful SACCOs to avoid blame games in managing Emyooga funds,” Muswa said.
He urged the journalists to embrace a culture of borrowing and paying back loans borrowed from their SACCO, saying “they are icons to the public, who must not abuse these funds.”
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