KAMPALA – Last Thursday the 9th of December 2021, Stanbic Bank organized a breakfast meeting themed “Working together to drive Uganda’s Post-Pandemic Economic Recovery”; to share planned initiatives that are aimed at supporting Uganda’s post-Covid19 economic restart in complement of government led efforts ahead of the planned full reopening of the economy in January 2022.
The meeting also intended to pledge partnership towards mobilizing Ugandans to refocus on economic activity to help recover from effects of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as support to B2G partnership to mobilize Ugandans into the money economy through cooperatives.
Amongst the guests of the occasion were the government Chief Whip Hon. Thomas. B Tayebwa who also represented the Prime Minister as the Chief Guest. Other guests present were; the Chairman of the NRM manifesto committee, Hon Ephraim Kamuntu and officials from Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, National Planning Authority, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, the Grain Council of Uganda and the bank’s key strategic partners together with cooperative clients from all the regions of Uganda.
In her address. Ms. Anne Juuko, the Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank reiterated the bank’s commitment to remain the people’s bank in Uganda. She said the bank is being deliberate about listening to all Ugandans and working with the government and different players to find solutions that respond to the needs of different segments of the population.
She informed the meeting that Stanbic Bank has customized different solutions for doctors, school proprietors as well as stakeholders in the oil and gas and agriculture sectors.
“Today partnerships make more business meaning than any other arrangements for a community to have an impact replicated over again. Partnerships with cooperatives is the way to go. We shall train, digitize and lend money to cooperatives at the rate of only 10% per annum,” She affirms.
The USD100M Economic Enterprise Restart Fund (EERF) which is currently benefitting cooperatives, and VSLAs was launched in November 2020, by Stanbic Bank Uganda, together with strategic partners to restart the economy post Covid-19.
Anne was keen to note that producer cooperatives were being lent to at 10% while other cooperatives business types like SACCOs were borrowing a rate of at least 12% per annum to enable the bank make an impactful intervention. She notes that this intervention comes at a time when many cooperatives and groups are facing with limited access to funding, lack of liquidity, low financial inclusion, and mismanagement by their leaders and members which is a threat to their longevity.
Apparently, the Northern Region has recorded the least access to EERF funds with only 2%, while Western Uganda stands highest at 46%. Eastern Uganda is also placed as lowly as 7% while Central Uganda stands at 45% access by cooperatives and VSLA’s.
In his opening remarks, Tayebwa acknowledged Stanbic Bank’s approach of thinking about citizens first.
“When you hear Ann speaking, you wonder if she is the CEO of a commercial bank. We as government are happy to work with you Stanbic Bank. Thank you for leading the way for others to know that it is not about profit.”
Hon. Prime Minister, Nabbanja in her speech read by Tayebwa equally thanks Stanbic Bank for setting the stage for other banks to lend at lower rates but implored Stanbic to further reduce the lending rates for more results.
On her part, Emma Mugisha Stanbic Bank’s Executive Director and Head of Business Banking further informed the meeting that the bank also aims at reaching at least 300,000 Village Savings and Loans Associations which are estimated to have in excess of 18m members country wide.
“We want to work with the VSLAs so that we reach at least 40% of the population in the informal sector that contributes to the national economy,” Mugisha says. More than 1,000 SACCOs and VSLAs have been recruited, and our bar is still going high, we are working on digitizing the system, so we have more members with easy access,” she adds.
She added that Stanbic Bank has also secured Shs. 2bn to facilitate a digitalization drive of all cooperatives, VSLAs and other groups involved in financing the population at a local level. Mugisha says, this would facilitate proper record keeping among the member institutions, ease financial monitoring and literacy, transparency as well as networking among all SACCOs.
The bank also introduced an application coded Flexipay, a virtual electronic wallet that enables members to access a systematic disbursement of funds and repayment of loans without going through hassles. Using this digital platform, at least 37,050 members have accessed the money through the different SACCOs and VSLAs around the country.
She further informed the meeting that the bank has set up an agricultural training centre in Hoima to help local farmers produce and target the foreign expatriates with things like pineapples, and fruits; adding that this facilitation comes along with financing to the farmers to enable them produce, but all in organized structures like cooperatives. Such enterprises will be catalyzed by the Parish Development Model (PDM).
According to data from the National Planning Authority (NPA), it is projected that at least 40% of the funding into the economy comes from the private sector, an indication that credit facilities should be made accessible and favorable conditions made for private sector led growth. Uganda’s NPA estimates to reach the 39% of the total Ugandan household who are still trapped in the poverty cycle, with investments towards health, education, house hold income and nutrition. Shs. 100m will be disbursed to every parish with a clear repayment plan for five years.
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