Traders cry foul for missing out on credit over SACCO management

Hoima Central Market Vendors are crying foul for missing out on loans from the Micro-Finance Support Center because of a dormant Savings and Credits Cooperative Organization.

Some of the vendors, who spoke to the cooperator, say that they formed Hoima United Vendors Association- SACCO about seven years ago with the hope of benefiting from loans from Micro-Finance Support Center.

According to information obtained from Vendors, there were close to 200 members in the Sacco, who paid Shillings 20,000 each as membership fees. The Sacco also floated shares at Shillings 30,000 each.

However, the vendors say they have not benefited from the Sacco because it has been dormant since it was established. They have asked municipal authorities and the Hoima District Commercial office to come in and intervene.

Vendors are seeking help from the DCO office and microfinance support center to revamp their Sacco and start working.

Geoffrey Murungi, a fishmonger in Hoima Central Market and the youth counselor Hoima district, says no general meeting has ever been held for close to five years now to brief the members on the performance of the SACCO and how far their loan application to Micro Finance Support Center has gone. They totally abandoned the association.

He wants security agencies and other arms of government to investigate the mess in Hoima Central Market.

Florence Baguma, a grain dealer says she has lost the interest in joining any other Sacco for fear of being conned in the same way. According to Baguma, her target was to get a loan of Shillings 2 million but now she can’t even recover the Shillings 20,000 she paid in membership to the defunct Sacco.

The vice-chairperson Hoima central market vendors Robert Ayebale, who is also a member of the Sacco, says every time they task the Sacco leaders for an explanation, they just walk away. He wants the government to disburse money directly to the vendors if there is anything to be achieved.

The Sacco Chairman, Geoffrey Kalisa declined to comment.

John Tumusiime, the Hoima District Commercial Officer, says his office tried to intervene in the affairs of the SACCO but realized there were three parallel groups.

Ivan Nkata, the Hoima zonal manager for Micro Finance Support Center, says they tried to organize the vendors in vain because of leadership wrangles. He, however, says funds are always available, which they can advance to the vendors should they resolve their differences.

Currently, the vendors rely on money lenders who give them loans at 30 percent interest rate.

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