By Our Reporter
Several Saccos in greater Masaka region are yet accessed funds under the presidential initiative on wealth and job creation commonly known as emyooga due to their failure to get duly registered by the Ministry of Trade, Industries and Cooperatives.
In January this year, the government through Microfinance Support Centre Limited (MSC) – the implementing government agency, disbursed more than Shs 9.8 billion as seed capital to Saccos in the districts of Masaka, Kyotera, Kalangala, Kalungu, Lwengo, Bukomansimbi, Lyantonde and Sembabule as well Masaka City.
There are 395 Saccos in the 22 constituencies that make up greater Masaka sub-region but the funds have been disbursed to 329 Saccos that had opened bank accounts.
According to the status report from Microfinance Support Centre Masaka Zonal office, the bank accounts of 329 Saccos were credited between January 11 and 13.
Much as all the recipient Saccos confirm receipt of the money on their respective accounts, a few, mostly those in Kyotera and Kakuuto counties in Kyotera district have accessed it.
MSC’s Peter Kibirango, the Saccos’ failure to access the funds on the Ministry of Trade, Industries and Cooperatives which has delayed to issue the groups with certificates of registration.
According to Kibirango, without the registration certificate, banks cannot allow Saccos to access these monies until they fulfill a know your client (KYC) stage which is confirmed by a registration certificate.
Lack of accessibility of this money has frustrated members of associations to save money.
Vincent Basenda, the Chairperson of Bujumba Constituency Boda Boda Sacco in Kalangala district says members of associations have refused to save with the Sacco because they are not sure of the accounts.
Basenda explains that their Sacco is afraid to make any deposits on their bank account in Finance Trust following their failure to access the Shs 30million they got a seed capital from MSC.
Abu Baker Batte, the Chairperson Nyendo-Mukungwe Constituency Produce Dealers Sacco notes that 45 produce associations had registered with them and had started saving some money but their failure to access money on the Sacco accounts scared them.
Batte claims that failure to access their money has now reduced the members from 45 associations to just ten produce dealers’ associations. He attributes the dropout of other associations to lack of confidence in the Sacco bank account.
Members of Kyotera constituency produce dealers Sacco had saved Shs 45million by the time they received emyooga capital of Shs 30million which according to the Sacco’s chairperson Ronald Ssemanda, ensured that the Sacco had Shs 75 million to lend to its members.
Ssemanda says they are happy that government has given them this money which is now being accessed by produce associations to lend to their individual members.
The government under the Presidential initiative on wealth and job creation is implementing a new project through specialised enterprises. Through these 19 enterprises, government is funding Saccos formed at constituency level with seed capital amounting to Shs 30 million to boost their savings and credit.