HOIMA – A struggling Teachers’ Saving and Credit Co-operative Society (SACCO) in Hoima Oil City is appealing for a government financial bailout – with good reason.
The 175 member Hoima Municipality Teachers SACCO which started in 2018 offers cheap loans of at least 8% interest rate to only government teachers.
There are about 500 government teachers in Hoima city.
Moses Ayebale, the SACCO chairman, said the SACCO is struggling to grow because it lacks funds.
He said the SACCO was fully registered in February 2019 and has saved over Shs 10 million but the teachers’ demands for loans outstrip its savings.
Ayebale said the high office rent, payment of staff, lack of furniture and other office equipment such as computers are crippling the SACCO.
“We had employed a full time manager but because of inadequate funds to pay him we agreed that he should work three days a week,” Ayabale said.
He said the government should invest in the struggling SACCO to help teachers turnaround their livelihoods and avoid expensive bank loans. He also urged the government to get experts to train them in skills and knowledge of managing the SACCO.
“If the government injects money in our SACCO, we shall be able to meet the teachers’ high demand for loans. And again, there is no harm if the government can provide us with experts to monitor this SACCO. If they can convene a meeting, train us and provide us with tools, it will help us manage our SACCO because we teachers, are not trained in financial management,” he said.
Ayebale said they managed to lobby for Shs 65 million from the government salary loans kitty of Shs 25 billion injected in Walimu Sacco. He said 12 teachers out of the 30 corded within Hoima city have already benefited from the funds.
“To be corded, one must be an active member of the SACCO and on the government payroll. The recovery of the Shs 65 million is good because it only benefits corded teachers. The teachers benefiting from Walimu SACCO salary loans pay 15% interest and 7% of the 15% is given to our SACCO.” he said.
He added that the SACCO expects to get another Shs 200 million from Walimu once the borrowed Shs 65 million is recovered.
Johnson Kusiima Baigana, the Hoima City Principal Education Officer, said the SACCO will save teachers from acquiring high interest loans from banks, which pile pressure on them.
“You find a teacher having loans in more than one bank with high interest rates. When they fail to pay, banks start harassing and chasing them around like thieves. This affects their concentration in class because they are looking out of the window to see who comes into the school. They are ready to take off,” he said.
“The government has a hand in this Teachers’ SACCO because its the government through our president, that encouraged teachers to form SACCOs and even injected billions of shillings in Walimu SACCO to save them from borrowing from banks.” he said, adding that, “We thought our SACCO was going to get soft loans for teachers but we found some challenges at the national level, they have not kept their promises because money is not flowing as we expected.”
“We are going to engage Walimu SACCO managers to find out what went wrong because teachers apply for the money and they get no response.” he said.
Buy your copy of thecooperator magazine from one of our country- wide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news