The State Minister for Microfinance, Haruna Kasolo has explained the rationale behind the Emyooga presidential initiative on job and wealth creation.
Speaking to representatives of locals at Sheema Municipality headquarters on Wednesday, Kasolo explained that whereas there were many initiatives introduced to help alleviate poverty in Uganda, they had not achieved their target, prompting the president to make a case for a new one.
“Many of the beneficiaries of those projects thought they were detoothing government. Many went and registered saccos but with an aim of detoothing government money. As soon as they received money, they used it for their own businesses and not what it was meant to do,”Kasolo said.
“However, many of them thought they were wise by detoothing government but little did they know, they were only misusing their own money(taxes).”
The minister explained that government also realized that despite several infrastructural development projects like roads and electricity put in place, many people have remained in abject poverty and hence a need to change on the tactics.
According to Kasolo, government realized that for anyone to become wealthy, they ought to have saving culture.
“We introduced this initiative to ensure people have some form of saving. It is bad mentality for anyone to think that a project is introduced to see that government gives back money to people. The project is to mobilise and sensitize people to save for their own wealth.”
“Government is not looking at the shs560 million to be given to each constituency but rather the money you can accumulate by saving and developing yourselves, other than waiting for handouts from government,” Kasolo added.
The Emyooga initiative targets Ugandans 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 who form saccos and each gets shs30 million as seed capital.
Kasolo explained that government realized that pooling together people at constituency level would greatly and easily benefit them and government could give them a helping hand through access to credit.
“We are looking at the money that these people spend every day however little it may be but by saving it, in turn it become much. This way, they can get access to credit from the Microfinance Support Centre at low interest rates.”
According to Alfred Eboku Ejanu, the head of Credit and Operations at the Microfinance Support Centre, through bringing together people under the same cluster, it is easy for them to save but also borrow and develop.
“The initiative will ensure people under the same line of business or economic agree easily on what to do after saving but also borrow so as to move from subsistence production to the money economy,”Eboku said.
“The president saw it fit that we organize these people in associations with the main objective of empowering and sensitizing them to do savings so that they can pool resources together but also get seed capital from government.”
Sheema Municipality MP and Minster for Science and Technology, Dr.Elioda Tumwesigye applauded government for the new initiative that he said is timely since most people in his area are already organised in various saccos.