The State Minister for Microfinance, Haruna Kasolo has said most Ugandans are poor because it is the path they have chosen to take.
“During the tenure of the NRM government, poverty is by choice. For anyone to remain poor is their choice. How can you say you are still poor yet there are many initiatives introduced by government to alleviate poverty,” Kasolo said as he launched the new presidential initiative on job and wealth creation, called Emyooga in Ntungamo municipality on Tuesday .
The minister explained that the mindset of many Ugandans has laid them back from becoming wealthy, noting that many people have only one job, a thing he said is a characteristic of someone who doesn’t want to become wealthy.
He cited an example of the Coronavirus pandemic and its effect like the lockdown that he said has seen many people suffer because they were having only one source of income that was closed down during the pandemic.
“If you had a restaurant on top of your current job, you would not be so much affected by the pandemic and the resultant lockdown. That is the mindset we are talking about. It is your choice.”
The minister also explained that Ugandans have a poor saving culture and this, he said has seen many remain poor because they spend all they get.
“If you spend too much but save nothing, it is your choice to remain poor. You have to make a choice between saving to become or not to save and remain poor,”Kasolo said
He told locals in Ntungamo that from even penny they get, there is need to save for emergencies, home use, personal issues and above all, for future investment.
“The biggest percentage of the money you save should be for future investment. Let us develop a saving culture and this way, we shall become rich and stop blaming government for making you poor.”
Commenting on the new Emyooga initiative, the minister explained that the rationale behind the program is not giving money to people but rather encourage them to save for their own benefit.
“Don’t look at the shs30 million we are giving to each sacco. The amount you have by saving is many times more than what we give you. First save and we shall add you something (shs30 miillion) to motivate you.”
About the initiative
The Emyooga initiative targets Ugandans in coming together in saccos from 18 clusters including Boda boda riders, taxi drivers, restaurants, welders, market vendors, women entrepreneurs, youth leaders, people with disabilities, journalists, performing artists, veterans, fishermen, and elected leaders.
Members will form associations of between 7 – 30 members at parish level.
The associations of members doing the same job(eg.boda boda riders) will then come together under one sacco formed at constituency level that will receive the shs30 million after saving some money on their joint account.
Each constituency will receive shs560 million for saccos of the 18 clusters.
Microfinance Support Centre will be the implementing agency for the program.