The Police Savings Association Limited which the Police Force’s oldest savings scheme has celebrated 30 years since its inception in 1989.
The function to celebrate the 30 years was held at Sharing Hall in Nsambya during its 30th Annual General Meeting on Friday.
Speaking during the meeting, the Inspector General of Police, John Martins Okoth Ochola, who is also a member, applauded the leadership of the scheme for steering it well to greater heights for the past 30 years.
“I would like to thank the board of directors for your open-handed support and dedication in advancing the cause of our officers. You are not only the backbone of savings in the force but also its heart and soul,” Ochola said.
He said that the main objective of forming the saving scheme was to collect, invest, protect and support police officers as one of the ways to respond to their personal challenges, a goal, the police chief said has been achieved.
Ochola, however, asked the leadership to stick to the scheme’s core values of integrity, transparency, and accountability but also a strong spirit of solidarity and mutual help towards police officers.
The Police Savings Association Limited chairperson, AIGP Edward Ochom underscored the role played by the scheme is improving the welfare of police officers.
“Salaries police officers are meager but when we save a small percentage of their salaries, we later lend them some money to help them develop. In the past, it was rare to find a police officer educating a child up to University but due to the money got from our scheme, many have been able to educate their children,” AIGP Ochom said.
He noted that many officers have bought plots, constructed houses and other bought cars for themselves after getting low-interest loans from the savings scheme.
“Our peak period where officers get loans is December, April and August to pay school fees and the scheme has helped them so much,” he noted, adding that in the year 2019, the highest amount loaned out was shs79 million to an individual police officer.
The saving scheme chairperson, however, decried some officers who retire without servicing their loans noting that as per now, they have money totaling to shs85 million in loans given out to officers who have since retired.
He noted that they have given instructions to the scheme’s lawyers to write to those retired members to pay back the loans or face court.
Those who have retired had over 85million.
The savings scheme
The Police Savings Association Limited started in 1989 as a welfare association for police officers and it was mandatory for every member of the force from the Inspector General of Police to the lowest rank to be part of it.
The scheme however developed some issues after grumbling from junior officers and in 2000, the Justice Julia Sebutinde Commission of inquiry into corruption in Police recommended that membership should be made voluntary.
In 2001, Ochola, who was the then Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Legal Affairs, recommended that the association be dissolved and members reapply to join voluntarily.
Consequently, membership dropped from14600 to only 700 members but later the number rose again to 2271 currently.
According to the saving scheme chairperson, AIGP Edward Ochom, they are worth shs16 billion because in assets including buildings and cash in banks.
However, in 2007 under Gen.Kale Kayihura’s reign as IGP, the police saw the creation of Exodus Sacco as another saving scheme which unlike the earlier one, was compulsory for every police officer to be a member.
A number of officers are members in both savings schemes.