The State Minister for Microfinance, Haruna Kasolo has said despite being fought by mafia and some banks, the Emyooga program has been a success.
“This program is a success. I know there are some challenges but this program is still a baby unlike some programs which have been here for many years and have not succeeded,”Kasolo said.
The minister was speaking during a stakeholders’ engagement meeting for Emyooga program held at the Royal Suites hotel in Bugoloobi.
Kasolo said that having Emyooga is killing two birds with one stone since it helps inculcate the saving culture but also helps people get capital to add to their businesses.
“The only way we can get out of poverty is through encouraging people to save. Even if we gave shs10million to each household, within two years, they will have used the money and are back to zero if they don’t save. However, Emyooga has been a success.”
Kasolo didn’t shy to say that the program is being fought by mafia and some banks for their own selfish interests and this, he said it because of its success story.
“This program is a success but mafia is punching holes into it. Moneylenders no longer have business because of their high lending rates and have resorted to punching holes into the Emyooga program,”Kasolo revealed.
“Even some myopic banks are fighting the program because people can no longer go to their banks for loans. People no longer go for those loan sharks and have resorted to fighting Emyooga.”
Kasolo admitted that the Emyooga program partly contributed to his failure in the just-concluded parliamentary elections as he spent most of the time ensuring the program is a success in the various parts of the country and didn’t campaign for himself in Kyotera.
He was however quick to say that he is at peace that program that cost him votes is a success.
“Why do you say program has failed? It is a success. It came when politics was at its peak and i had to abandon my constituency. Every MP called me over it and I had to sacrifice my victory over the program but I am happy it is a success.”
Kasolo urged the Finance Ministry to consider increasing funding to the Microfinance Support Centre that he said helps low-income earners access funds, unlike the Uganda Development Bank which targets big businesses.
“Microfinance Support Centre can continue giving funds to people with small businesses as UBD caters for those with big businesses. Let us give more money to Lets us give money to Microfinance Support Centre because it is everywhere in the country where people can go and have access to cheap credit,” the minister said.
According to the Microfinance Support Centre Executive Director, a total of shs200 billion has been disbursed to various Emyooga saccos around the country in the nine months of existence of the program.
He also noted that over 6000 saccos have been registered and have been able to save shs9.9 billion.
“According to studies, 50% of our people get finances from informal sources similar to Emyooga. This is the spirit of benefiting the largest percentage of our population so as to be able to access finances. Emyooga has helped many people access finances but also be able to save,”Mujuni said.
He explained that many people borrow from saccos to finance education and health, noting that such groups play a big role in the development of communities.
“I don’t want to boast but we have seen programs of this nature given five years or more to achieve the same milestones we have achieved in a period of only nine months. Emyooga is a success and we are in all parts of the country.”