Less than half of the Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies- SACCOs that the government registered to benefit from the Emyooga Initiative have received the funds.
The initiative aimed at creating jobs and improving household incomes Ugandans in the Boda Boda industry, taxi drivers, restaurant owners, welders, market vendors, women entrepreneurs, youth, persons with disabilities, journalists, performing Artistes, veterans, fishermen and elected leaders among others was launched in August 2019.
Since then, 6,354 SACCOs have registered with the Microfinance Support Center-MSC to access the funds but only 700 with a certificate of registration from the Ministry of Trade have been granted access to the funds.
According to the Head Credit and Investment at the Micro Finance Support Center, Alfred Eboku Ejanu, 102 of these groups are in Busoga while 87 SACCOs are in the Rwenzori region. Another 200 SACCOs they say are in Buganda.
Eboku says, they submitted to the Ministry of Trade 3,500 application forms for SACCOs but only 700 have been cleared yet. He says they are yet to get answers from the Ministry why the process has been slow.
However, Ebuku says government entered a Memorandum of Understanding with Banks to allow SACCOs to open bank accounts under the same names they use to apply for a certificate at the Ministry. This would then enable the government to send the money such that as soon as the certificate is presented, money is released from the Bank.
Haruna Kasolo, the Minister for State Minister for Microfinance says they couldn’t wait for a certificate of registration because they wanted to expedite the process.
He adds that he has planned a meeting with the Minister of Trade to discuss ways to expedite the registration process and clear the backlog in two weeks.
Minister Kasolo also says that the government has so far disbursed 184.870 Billion Shillings out of the 260 billion allocated to the initiative.
He says the money has been disbursed to a total of 5,886 SACCOs across the country out of the targeted 6,354 SACCOs. The SACCOs are distributed in 344 constituencies out of the targeted 353 constituencies in the country.
In the five divisions of Kampala, the Minister says they have disbursed over Shillings 5.76 billion to 190 SACCOs and Shillings 1.560 billion to 50 SACCOs in Kiira Municipality and Shillings 4.91 billion to 100 SACCOs in Wakiso district.