NEBBI – Loans may keep some people sad and trapped in a cycle of debt, especially when they outpace one’s savings.
But Agnes Akumu, 45, a roadside clay pot dealer, is all smiles, years after taking up a ‘roadside business loan.’
“My life is transformed ever since I started accessing the roadside business loan from the SACCO. This has inspired me to do other side businesses, which have increased my capital base from Shs 50,000 to Shs 800,000 with a low loan interest rate of 8%,” Akumu, a resident of Akworo Village in Nyaravur trading center, said in a recent interview.
She’s largely a clay pot dealer and grinds stone along Nyaravur-Pakwach Road. She’s one of the many excited beneficiaries of the small roadside business loans.
Though her business is accident prone given its proximity to the Nyaravur –Pakwach Road, Akumu says the success outweighs the risks. She says she has been able to pay school fees for her children and support her family all the way.
She said she has also been able to buy two acres of land using profits from her business.
Clay pots, she said, are in demand largely for decoration and for cooling water. She said they are a very lucrative business.
Roadside businesses are small scale enterprises plied along the road targeting travelers who buy small items as they move from place to place.
Roadside business loans were introduced by Nyaravur Farmers’ Savings and Credit Cooperative Society, three years back.
Akumu said roadside business traders have also applied for Emyooga funds but are yet to get any firm nod of approval.
But the roadside business loans have improved the livelihoods of many and some are now applying for bigger loans.
According to business experts, roadside business loans are seed capital, given to business people doing roadside businesses.
Richard Okumu, the manager Nyaravur SACCO, said at least 70% of borrowers of roadside loans are women who have embraced the initiative and are responding positively.
In the past, he said, loans were given to very rich business men who owned very big shops but that has since changed.
He said the maximum loan given to roadside business persons is Shs 300,000 since roadside traders deal in small items.
David Muswa, the commercial officer, said women are very focused business people and are committed to paying back borrowed funds.
He urged financial institutions to carry out financial literacy trainings for well-focused women to help lift their businesses.
“As commercial officers at the district, we feel much privileged to see the roadside business women being uplifted and their livelihoods improved.” Muswa said.
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