Beneficiaries of Emyooga funds in Nebbi Municipality have said some SACCOs have failed to refund the loans because the government did not empower their leaders with financial literacy which would have helped them to manage the funds better.
The Emyooga beneficiaries said the funds were disbursed to them during the period when people were busy engaged in politics and faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, which they said hindered them from getting advice on how best to manage the funds.
The members voiced their concerns in Nebbi town during the training of over 100 leaders of Sacco leaders in areas such as; enterprise selection, mindsets, recordkeeping, and resource mobilization by the Microfinance Support Center [MSC].
Emyooga is the presidential initiative on wealth and job creation and was launched in August 2019 as part of the broad government strategy targeting to transform 68 percent of the homesteads from subsistence to market-oriented production with the overall objective of promoting job creation and improving household incomes.
Jackeline Opar, the chairperson of Local Leaders SACCO in Nebbi Municipality, said they did not receive any training on the management of the received funds, which she said was the reason why some Emyooga SACCO groups mismanaged the funds.
“Emyooga is well designed to benefit the community members but, the beneficiaries were not properly prepared to receive the funds. They did not train in enterprise selection, bookkeeping, or resource mobilization, among others,” Opar said.
She urged the government to ensure that the beneficiaries of the Parish Development Model [PDM] get the capacity to run their businesses so that they can pay back the loans to the parish revolving fund.
The Residential District Commissioner Nebbi, Robert Abak said there are management gaps in some of the Emyooga groups, which he said need to be addressed.
He said out of 243 Emyooga group beneficiaries formed in the Nebbi Municipality, only 117 groups are active with a saving projection of Shs 224 million. He said the government disbursed Shs 957mln as a revolving fund to the groups but only Shs 367mln has been recovered.
“Additional seed capital will be added to all the SACCOs but the government wants loans recovered first before an additional Shs 20mln is given to deserving SACCOs,” Abak said.
However, the MSC regional manager, Ronald Waiswa said additional capital of Shs 20mln is given to some SACCO groups based on good records keeping and savings.
Waiswa said most of the Emyooga beneficiaries have shunned saving in their SACCOs yet at the same time want to acquire loans.
He said training of Emyooga SACCO leaders is the mandate of MSC to ensure the smooth running of their businesses, meant to improve livelihoods. He called for transparency in managing the Emyooga funds.