Kiryandongo residents want Emyooga conditions “relaxed”

KIRYANDONGO – Residents of Kiryandongo district have asked the government to consider relaxing some of the conditions laid out before a person accesses funds under the Emyooga programme.

While meeting their constituency Members of Parliament (MPs) over the weekend, residents said the conditions set are limiting their ability to borrow and improve on their household income and well being.

Kiryandongo is made up of three constituencies which include; Kibanda South and North and the two constituencies are represented by Hon. Jacob Karubanga and Hon. Linos Ngompek respectively, while Hon. Hellen Kahunde is the Woman Member of Parliament.

During a meeting held at Kigumba sub-county headquarters, SACCO leaders prepared a report on issues affecting them and presented it to their MPs while alleging that the programme may not ably help them if it has stringent conditions attached.

“The government started this programme to help us fight poverty but it is becoming hard. We were told we need to have saved at least 30% of the money we need to borrow, but that is a tough and stringent condition. Besides that, the money given to SACCOs is also not enough,” the report read.

Isaac Museveni Ulama, the Chairperson LC3 for Kigumba sub-county said there is a lot of bureaucracy when one wants to access the money thus limiting beneficiaries in addition to the 12% interest rate attached.

“There are too many forms to fill and unfortunately, a person is made to move for so many days before the entire process is completed. The process is too long and discouraging,” Ulama said.

Kenneth Kyaligonza, the Chairperson of Kibanda South Carpenters’ SACCO, said the guidelines were not well articulated to the masses before the programme was rolled out.

“This money came at a critical time of election campaigns and most people thought it was ‘free.’ Many people are still finding it hard to understand the conditions because they had different expectations,” Kyaligonza said.

However, Karubanga said, “this is a revolving fund and you must respect it. All of you cannot get money at once. Borrowers should respect the conditions set and pay back in time such that others can also benefit. If you handle the programme well, you will all benefit in the end,” Karubanga said.

However, Ngompek said the conditions set to access the money are meant to ensure that borrowers show commitment.

“When the Youth Livelihood Project was started, many people misused it by either marrying more women or wasting it in bars and it was hard to trace such money. However, the 30% savings you are being asked for are a sign of commitment that you will pay back,” Ngompek said.

When contacted, Kiryandongo District Commercial Officer, Sam Kakumba said the district received over Shs 1bn which was distributed among 35 SACCOs.

“Kibanda North has 18 SACCOs while Kibanda South has 17 and each has an average of seven associations. Each SACCO received Shs 30m except the ones for local leaders which got Shs 50m each. Each constituency has one local leaders’ SACCO. Apparently, 40 associations from different Emyooga SACCOs have received funds,” Kakumba said.

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