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Shs 40m Museveni cash splits Nebbi vendors

Vendors in Nebbi main market under their umbrella, Nebbi Vendors Association, are at loggerheads over a Shs 40m presidential grant meant to help them kick start a SACCO.

The money, which was delivered in fulfilment of a 2014 pledge by President Museveni to members of the association, is stoking division, with accusations that the cash that was meant to start a SACCO ended up in just a few hands.

Vendors who spoke to theCooperator said that the funds were supposed to be loaned out to members in a revolving format. However, some members are accused of borrowing the money and never returning it to the treasury, leaving the rest frustrated.

One of the vendors, Mariam Ngamita says the money benefitted those members committed to doing business, but others did not achieve much with it because they mistook the money to be politically motivated.

Ngamita, a produce dealer in Nebbi main market said she one of the first beneficiaries of the Shs 40m presidential booty.

“I received Shs 500,000 and it boosted my produce business, and I soon paid back my loan. But when I later applied for more money, I did not receive it because some other people took money and never returned it.” 

Louis Odika Owachi, the former Chairman of the Nebbi Market Vendors Association, says that when he was elected Chairman of the association in 2015 he only found Shs 16m on the association’s account out of the total Shs 40m that the president had sent to Nebbi market vendors.

“The rest of the money was with the vendors,” he said.

Odika says that even the Shs 16m balance he found on the account was later loaned out to vendors who all refused to pay it back, claiming that the money was given to voters to vote for the president in 2016.

Accountability needed

Meanwhile, William Sasa, also a former Chairman of the Vendors’ Association,  says the association account had  Shs 43m on it at the time he left, which sum he says should be accounted for properly in order to allay members’ doubts.

“I left over Shs 40m on the association’s account, including the money borrowed by the members. Where could this money have gone?” Sasa asked.

He adds that the association had planned to start its own SACCO during his tenure as Chairman of Nebbi Market Vendors’ Association, but the plan was buried after the money was mismanaged due to the laxity of leaders who never follow up with members for recoveries. 

However, Odika revealed that when he attempted to follow up with the defaulters, some of them made threats against his life.

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