Authorities in the Kukuube district are struggling to recover a sum of Sh 1.12 billion that was distributed to various saving groups under a presidential initial commonly known as Enyooga.
The presidential Initiative rolled out in October 2020 to support among others, market vendors, welders, taxi drivers, carpenters, boda-boda riders, women, performing artists, and restaurant owners who come together in form of savings and credit co-operative societies.
The aim was to boost strategies to transform 68 percent of Ugandan homesteads from subsistence to market-oriented production.
Under the initiative, the government set aside Sh100 billion, with each constituency receiving Sh 560 million, to create job opportunities, increase access to specialized financial services to rural areas, particularly to women, youth and Persons with Disabilities to improve the household income of the project beneficiaries and enhance the entrepreneurial capacity of different categories through sensitization, skilling, and tooling.
In the Kikuube district, there were 826 Emyooga groups created out of 36 savings and credit cooperative societies.
Eighteen of the SACCOs are from Buhaguzi East Constituency, while the rest are from Buhaguzi West Constituency and these collectively shared a total of Sh1.12 billion from the Emyooga funds.
Kikuube District Senior Commercial Officer Fatuma Businge told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Thursday that several SACCO members who took the money to boost their enterprises have failed to pay back the funds despite the expiry of the grace period.
According to Businge, emyooga is a revolving fund and failure by one group to pay back, affects other beneficiaries.
Kikuube District Resident Commissioner Amlan Tumusiime has issued a one-week ultimatum to the groups to refund the money and cautioned that all those who fail to pay back face arrest for frustrating the government programme.
According to Tumusiime, some of the group members after receiving the Emyooga varnished to an unknown destination while others misused the money to marry more women.