Only 19 of the 72 Emyooga SACCOs have received funds in Hoima district

HOIMA – Members of Parliament from Hoima city have supported Emyooga beneficiaries’ demand to do away with all conditions imposed on the program, if the initiative is to serve its intended purpose.

Emyooga program is a Presidential Initiative on Job and Wealth Creation but it has been faced with several criticism and challenges during its implementation.

Several of the intended beneficiaries in the area have continuously lost interest in the program with some withdrawing their membership from the Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) due to what the beneficiaries termed as uncalled for bureaucracies.

The implementers of the program (Emyooga task force) that include the Microfinance Support Center, Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) and Commercial Officers continue to insist that the beneficiaries should meet some requirements before accessing the money.

The task force insists that for SACCO members to access the funds on their accounts, they must have a mandatory 30% savings.

The SACCO members are also required to ensure that systems and structures of the SACCOs and associations are strengthened, which include having proper records, office space, which is independent from individual member’s businesses and staff with basic qualifications.

Last week Hon. Anita Among, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament sent Members of Parliament on recess from 5th to 17th of this month to conduct an oversight assessment of the Emyooga program.

However, during a meeting organized by Asinansi Nyakato, the Hoima City Woman MP and Dr. Joseph Ruyonga, Hoima West Davison MP Hoima City, it was discovered several SACCOs in the city and Hoima district had not accessed the money.

According to information that was unveiled to the law makers, only 19 out of the 72 SACCOs had received money to boost their businesses and only Shs 350 million out Shs 2.24 billion which was granted to Hoima district and city had been disbursed to the beneficiaries by last week.

Bosco Muhanuzi, the Mayor for Hoima East division told the MPs that the condition imposed on the program was unfavourable to targeted beneficiaries.

He noted that the condition of saving 30% is not for the low-income earner such as mechanics and fishermen but it’s for the rich groups and demanded all these conditions be scrapped.

It is easier to get a loan from the banks than the one from Emyooga. I have never seen a loan that demands that you take 30%, after opening an office, employing manager, cashier and accountant, yet all these require finances,” he said, adding that this program is just for hoodwinking the people and wasting their time.

Brian Ariguma, the Chairperson of Hoima East Mechanics SACCO also demanded that the government allows the members to access the money without all these conditions if the funds are to benefit the poor people. He noted that most of his members have lost hope in the program, adding that they have started demanding for their little savings from the SACCO leaders.

“What we earn is what we eat, where do they expect us to get 30% which they demand us to save. Someone is looking for Shs 100, 000 to boost his or her business and then you ask that person to save Shs 300,000 to get Shs 700,000, this is unfair,” he complained.

Juma Asiimwe, the Chairperson of Hoima East division leaders SACCO says, when the president was unveiling the program, he did not put conditions on the program and wondered why the implementers are frustrating them with such conditions.

“If you want this program to help us to move out of poverty go and scrap off all these conditions,” Asiimwe told the MPs.

Asinansi Nyakato, Hoima City Woman MP, observed that the program has not benefited people as they expected and promised to advocate for some changes in the program.

“We are going to recommend to the government to scrap off 30% and if it’s not possible then the program should be halted because it’s exploiting our people,” she promised.

Dr. Joseph Ruyonga, Hoima West division MP noted that though the program is facing challenges, there is a need for the beneficiaries to undergo financial literacy training if they are to benefit from the program.

He observed that the biggest challenge faced by the program is that many of the beneficiaries, up to now, think that Emyooga money was a political incentive because it was initiated during the political season.

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