Cooperatives & Communities

SHEEMA: Shuuku SACCO warned over bribery

SHEEMA– SACCO officials and members in western Uganda have been warned against engaging in bribery while processing loans.

The call was made by Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu in Sheema district while speaking at the 25th Annual General Meeting [AGM] of Shuuku SACCO on Friday.

“What disturbs me most is seeing the members who are the owners of the SACCO bribing managers in order to secure a loan. Why do you pay a bribe to get a loan from your own bank?” He asked.

Kamuntu, the senior presidential advisor on economic affairs, said the practice of paying bribes could lead to the collapse of many SACCOs in the western region.

Kamuntu who is also an economist advised credit officers to always evaluate members before giving them loans to avoid defaulting on members’ savings.

“You need to be extra careful before giving the money. First to know the client’s economic status. For instance, is he capable of paying back the loan?” Kamuntu, who has held various ministerial positions asked.

He said some banks collapse due to defaulting by clients. “The moment some members default, banks will increase the interest rate to recover the lost monies,” he said.

He encouraged members of Shuuku SACCO to always choose leaders with integrity and focus to move the SACCO forward, adding that leaders must be willing to work for their members.

Kamuntu, a veteran politician, is recognised in Sheema district as a true cooperator who initiated the formation of three SACCOs in three town councils of Shuuku, Bugongi, and Kitagata. These include Shuuku SACCO, Kitagata SACCO, and Bugongi SACCO where Kamuntu still serves as patron.

Patrick Bakunda, CEO of Uganda Central Cooperative Financial Services UCCFS], asked Shuuku SACCO to seek services of gnuGrid Africa Ltd, a credit reference bureau that aggregates data to track multiple borrowers.

Steven Bongonzya, the Board chairman Shuuku SACCO encouraged the members to increase their shares and improve on the saving culture to boost the liquidity of the SACCO.

Kafurembe Asasira, the Sheema district senior commercial officer lauded SACCOs in the district for cooperating. He thanked officials from Mushanga SACCO, Muhame SACCO, Kishenyi SACCO, and others for attending Shuuku SACCO’s AGM.

Felix Tusiime, an auditor advised SACCO leaders to continue recovering loans from the members. He commended Shuuku SACCO for increasing savings from Shs 3 billion to Shs 5 bln, with dividends of Shs 428 mln.

“As auditors, we encourage Shuuku SACCO to improve on loan recovery and scrutinise its members well before issuing them loans. For example, does one have the capacity or collateral security? What is the character of the members before you give them loans?” Tusiime asked.

Herbert Ahimbisibwe, general manager said Shuuku SACCO has 11,199 members, savings of over Shs 5 bln, share capital of over Shs 2.5 bln, loan portfolio of over Shs 9.5 bln, total assets of about Shs 11 bln. It also registered dividends of Shs 428 mln in 2022 compared to Shs 146 mln realised in 2021.

Some of the members who did well in savings and buying shares in the Sacco were rewarded with mattresses after the AGM.

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